-James Howard Kunstler
Every wage earner, every producer of capital, is a speculator whether he would be or not. We must speculate on how we are to make our income, and after we have made it, we must speculate on how we are to keep it where it will be safe until it is needed. Speculation is just another name for intelligent assumption of risks.
Now most of my friends who are out and out speculators frankly admit the fact, as opposed to that so-called investment class who would like to think that they take no speculative risks. By all the time-honored yardsticks of financial measurement these out and out speculators should have failed in the last two years of declining stocks and grain futures, and those who invest for a six percent return should have their capital intact. But such has not been the case. As a matter of fact, very few of my old speculator friends have lost all they had, yet every speculator I know of has less in 1933 than he had in 1929. On the other hand, millions of people who never meant to risk a dime have lost their lifetime savings in the four years following 1929.
Many of my very close friends who look with horror on so-called speculation have lost all they had through the failure of banks, building and loan associations, and defaulted bonds, where they had their savings invested; or else they have failed through the decline in farm lands or city real estate. This doesn't seem quite fair since those who never asked more than a six per cent return certainly had a moral claim to safety of principal.