Chapter Six

Time Preference

Overcoming That Humanness About Us

It is an inconvenient and unfortunate fact about Austrian Investing, the destination of this book toward which we have been making our way: It is nearly impossible to implement. A very real and deeply encoded impediment acts as a natural, built-in barrier—that humanness about us. We are not made with a predilection toward shi, roundaboutness, and capitalistic production and investment. We are adaptively designed to favor the tactical li—immediate, direct, decisive—over the strategic shi—intermediate, indirect, roundabout. It is no wonder, then, that having an intertemporal perspective and perception is such an underestimated and overlooked advantage, and yet it is also one of the most influential, a distinct intelligence, and key to our success.

Our perception of time is central to this book and to our ability—or far more likely inability—to implement its methodology of Austrian Investing. You see, the roundabout runs afoul of the very way we perceive the ticking of the clock, and, more specifically, all the moments in all those ticks and tocks. As we will see, our perception of time is diametrically opposed to our appreciation of and our ability to engage in the roundabout.

And yet, because the direct, the li, is endemic to humans, we have within our grasp the means to exploit it in others—that is, if we can overcome the seemingly insurmountable. To do so, we must make the turn toward shi by going against the grain ...

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