The Frontier Way

Last week we published the story of William Knox D’Arcy. He had more good fortune than a man deserves. But sometimes you make your own luck. And you can’t get lucky if you’re not trying. He tried twice in his life, taking a punt on highly risky, highly improbable ventures. It paid off for him in spectacular fashion. It’s a great story.

Australia must have been full of men and women like D’Arcy at an earlier point in its history. You don’t settle a continent and build a country from scratch by being afraid of work, risk, or uncertainty. Yet today, we get the sense – and this is true in America as well – that our ancestors would hardly recognise the tepid, fearful, and coddled people we’ve become today.

True, they might admire us for our expensive eyewear and cosmopolitan sophistication, but they probably wouldn’t want to homestead with us, or go in as partners in a gold mine. That takes fortitude, a sense of adventure and a willingness to back yourself.

Maybe the world was just perceived differently then. Frontier people are required to believe they can control their own destiny and improve their own lives. If you didn’t believe that deep down as a matter of personal character, you’d never be out on the edge, at the margins of life trying something different to finish life better than you started.

It’s not an American quality or an Australian quality. It’s a human quality that you see when people are out there on the frontier, not just thinking about the future but making it. For some reason, we live in an age where people are more fearful than positive, or maybe where people are just too lazy, complacent, and well off to take a real risk. Why bother?

But it’s a good thing D’Arcy didn’t think that way. And for what it’s worth, we reckon the status quo in the markets can’t prevail forever. True, there is no theoretical limit to a central bank’s ability to grow its balance sheet (and suppress bond yields while supporting stock prices). But even human credulity has a breaking point. Tomorrow, we’ll show you why people stop believing, and what happens when they do.


Dan Denning
for Markets and Money

From the Archives…

William Knox D’Arcy: The Greatest Australian You’ve Never Heard Of
30-11-2012 – Callum Newman

Credit and Credibility
29-11-2012 – Greg Canavan

Nothing More than Feelings… For the Aussie Dollar
28-11-2012 – Dan Denning

The Thanksgiving Gift from the Feds
27-11-2012 – Bill Bonner

The Aussie Dollar Dilemma
16-11-2012 – Dan Denning

Dan Denning
Dan Denning examines the geopolitical and economic events that can affect your investments domestically. He raises the questions you need to answer, in order to survive financially in these turbulent times.

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8 Comments on "The Frontier Way"

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After having to help clean up his s***t at Mt Morgan, being a minanarchist it’s not often I would call on govt regulation (This would actually be a first) but being made responsible for cleaning up the mess you leave behind and being held responsible for destruction of vast tracts of property (not his own) would be my call for government to step in. The cost to clean up Mt Morgan properly exceeds 4 times the value of the gold he extracted, I think the figures I saw were in the range of 60-200billion depending on how far the cleanup… Read more »
michael prete

Good for Luke for pointing the romantic illusion of Australia’s sanitised
history. Perhaps one day someone will write a history book titled:
“Australia — The Ugly Truths”. Perhaps the Daily Reckoners could devote
an article on who really did the hard, dirty work to achieve economic progress in Australia since 1788. Was it the Brits? I don’t think so.

For those who are interested this is Mt Morgan You can literally see where the creek dies just below the southeast tailings dam. There is no life in this creek for 20km. At 20km it is single cell organisms and fungus/molds. At 35km there is some plant life and at 50km the first fish are found. You have no idea how proud the team was when they found their first guppie 50km down stream. Before that it had been 75km. This is the water treatment plant processing about 3megalitres a day into the creek to reduce toxicity as… Read more »
Well Michael, you can’t deny the Brits had the vision to colonise and later settle this country, and together with people from a few nations, later to become many, has made Australia what it is today. Except of course if it hadn’t been for America refusing to accept any more convicts, and England needing somewhere to offload its flotsam and jetsam. But this is what makes nations, a melting pot of what is humanity, good and bad. It is what follows that is most important, the calibre of the politicians, the fairness of the authorities and the separation of the… Read more »

Here is the way you take on those in your way on the frontier. The contemporary frontier way …

More risk for them than for us.

Crumbs Luke! It is true we have shown almost complete contempt for our natural heritage on this continent. The norm is to scrape away what is there and make a living or a living space out of some system alien to the landscape. In general our natural systems, flora and fauna is still poorly understood and appreciated…and managed despite an increase in attention. I work in that realm every week. That is not to ignore some very devoted people with passion. The sought who write books, devoted naturalists and great men like Harry Butler who have brought their passion into… Read more »

I understand too that insincere interests can and do hijack honest human endeavours like that to appreciate and preserve the natural environment. One could use that as an excuse to remain in denial over our treatment of our natural heritage and I have seen this. The truth is in there amongst the tangle however.

Interesting commentary about Mt Morgan, D’Arcy, etc. However, all of it is latter day stuff, and does nothing to reflect the times. For a start, New Holland(Australia), was populated by an admixture of desperate people who simply wanted out of Britain – or alternatively, were exiled from Britain. Say from the days of our first settlement: In Britain at the end of the 18th century it was not just crime that was increasing but also poverty. The industrial revolution made many people rich but for many poor families (both in rural and urban areas) life was the worst it had… Read more »
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