People talk about the “second childhood” of old age. What relates the second childhood to the first is high “time preference”; that it cares more about the present than the future.

The edges of our lives are unlike the middle. The child is unaware of its future; the old man has none.


  1. JK says

    Oh I don’t know.

    Couple of years ago I noticed alot of hair scattered about on the floor of the shower. So, rather than the ‘military-style’ cut I’d favored since high school I went the other way.

    I started a beard, *somehow* the left side ignited but I managed to extinguish the flame before it reached the “mustache” area and now the ends dangle past the third button on my shirts.

    And I look forward now more than I ever used to – going to the Post Office.

    (“Grandma, lock the cardoors there’s a really weird man parked next to us!”)

    Posted March 6, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
  2. Kevin Kim says


    If you’ve got more hair on the bottom half of your head than on the top half, it could simply be that the hair wants to migrate south during your winter years. Your chin is the Florida of your head. Those beard hairs—that’s the Jewish retirement community. Keep them safe from alligators.

    Posted March 6, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink
  3. Gienthen Daal says

    I have a friend, a male retiree about 65 – no children. He is one of those former “Reagan Democrats”, very conservative and yet he voted for Obama twice. Much like many people in the upper Midwest did, as was covered in the press. Why, because he has no stake in the future, if the country literally collapsed after he dies, he would not be concerned at all. Thinking about him made me question Heinlein’s theory of having military retirees only having the right to vote. If they really did, they would just vote themselves big pensions and screw the rest of us.

    Posted March 7, 2015 at 12:51 am | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Yes, that’s one of democracy’s most destructive liabilities: it incentivizes and institutionalizes high time preference.

    Posted March 7, 2015 at 12:57 am | Permalink
  5. What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.”

    – Adolf Hitler

    “Hitler’s quote underscores the fascist ideal: That fascism flourishes in a society wherein people are docile and sheep-like. His comment also suggests that he sees this timid lack of thinking as human nature. While this may be the ultimate “good fortune” for a fascist nation, it is absolutely suicidal to a democratic nation.”

    h/t Mark C

    Posted March 7, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  6. Musey says

    JK, thanks for that last line because you made me laugh, really laugh out loud, because the image of granny locking up the car because a weird man parked alongside is funny, and rings true. Never mind, if she knew you, she’d like you a lot. I like you too, and I do notice that you stay away when things turn nasty.

    Posted March 7, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
  7. Whitewall says

    “high time preference”
    It is nice to see the “Austrian School” make an appearance. Ludwig would be pleased.

    Posted March 8, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink
  8. JK says

    I wish that were true Musey. In real life I mean.

    The part about staying away when things get nasty I mean.

    Posted March 8, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

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