Crises Need Prepared Capitalists

I have to admit a failure.

For all of my knowledge of the crisis at hand (I have amazing access to information), for all of my will to face it, and for all of the small preparations I made for my own safety, I’ve lived in such a way that has made me – for now – largely unhelpful in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Namely, I don’t have the cash.

Because I did not hustle, sell, plan, accumulate, and invest in the good times, there is not much I can do (aside from asking the help of others) to bring personal protective gear to medical staff, food to my neighbors, or investment into research and development to fight this virus.

It’s maddeningly frustrating to watch this unfold while feeling my hands are tied by finances. But I know what I did wrong.

There is a real sense that – assuming I want to help mitigate suffering in the world – I need to be the kind of person who accumulates cash and liquid assets. So I have a sort of duty to be a good capitalist, in the original sense of that term.

I failed this time. I won’t fail next time.

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James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at