Webster’s defines “fair” as “impartial and just, without favoritism or discrimination”. And obviously, based on this definition, life in 2023 will not be “fair”. In this Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast we’re going to review the unfair opportunities that are out there, how to take advantage of them, and why there’s nothing morally wrong in doing so.
Episode 278: Life Isn’t Fair Transcript
Webster's Dictionary defines fairness as impartial and just without favoritism or discrimination. This is Frank Rolfe for the Mobile Home Park Mastery Podcast. We're talking about the topic that some people want to tell you that life isn't fair. Life really isn't fair in some regards. Children have an innate sense of fairness, but they start to lose that as they're exposed to the world around them, which is kind of a sad commentary. They become jaded by what they see. And in 2023, we are clearly living in a world where fairness is lost and permeates every news story and every world event. Just look around, listen, observe. Politicians are profiting from self-dealing. So you have the very folks who are supposedly watching out for our best interests who have converted the government to a business that sells political influence. You have branches of the government, folks again that are working for our best interests and instead restrict free speech to support their own personal causes, which can even alter the course of our elections and what happens in America. You've got college admissions where certain ethnicities are given priority over others, even though they should all be based on fair testing scores.
You have rampant self-dealing in which the government awards contracts without any supervision, any oversight, any bidding process, often to their own cronies. Now against that backdrop, we have a complete absence of fairness. And what is perceived by some as unfair is business. And business is not unfair. Business in fact is the only fair thing there is out there today because business is all about access and the game of business is open to all. So when fairness is often applied to the choice of venue of what business you go to, that's not true. Capitalism, which is what our country is based upon, is based on meritocracy. It's 100% egalitarian. It's the only place in the world in which a penniless immigrant can become a millionaire and a millionaire heir can lose everything and become penniless. So let's talk about fairness and how fairness relates to business. First, you have Warren Buffett, who I think we all would agree was an outstanding investor. Warren Buffett once said, the interesting thing about business, it's not like the olympics. You don't get any extra points for the fact that something's very hard to do. So what Warren Buffett is saying is, it may not seem fair to some as far as some businesses do well and others don't, and some are easy and others are difficult, but that's just part of the venue you choose.
It has nothing to do with true fairness, which is access. Also Warren Buffett has often talked about a mode. What is a mode? A mode is something that holds your competition at bay, and some businesses have it and others do not. If you look at Warren Buffett's holding, he seems to always favor businesses, either through copyrights or patents or just the capital required to enter the game, that it keeps competition at bay. But it's not an unfair restriction of competition. It's simply the fact that some business models offer a mode and others do not. And then you have the megatrends. What's a megatrend? It's a word coined by John Naisbitt in a book titled Megatrends, I think back in the 80s. And the concept is there are some trends in America that completely shape our economy and our everyday lives. Some of those current trends are baby boomers that are aging, the need for affordable housing, the great migration, the great resignation, all of these various giant demographic shifts. These are all megatrends. And whatever you select as your business model, again, it's not a function of fairness. Instead, it's just a function of intelligence. You want to be in a good business model or a bad business model?
That freedom is up to you. The access is there. It's all attainable. But whether it's fair or not is what you select. Now fairness is the basic foundation of capitalism, but it comes through competition. It's not about the simplicity or the difficulty or what you decide to get involved in. It's about the fact that you can. And people who get upset and say, oh, that business is unfair. Typically, what they're really saying is they're jealous they didn't get into it. It's more what they call FOMO, Fear On Missing Out. So many people who try and use the word fairness as a negative concept in a competitive business environment, what they're trying to say is, gosh darn it, I screwed up. I did not get involved in that business. I got into more difficult business and now I'm mad. And that means that what you got into is unfair. But that's just not true. There's a fairness of the model from the public's perspective. And again, now we're talking about the customers and how they view things. And they don't typically like the competitive nature of capitalism because supply and demand sets pricing, not the owners, not the customers.
Only the government has the ability to restrict supply and demand and manipulate the free market. So if there's one source of unfairness in business or in pricing, that would stem from the government itself, not from the free market. In the absence of the government's controls, fairness rules the land via the concept of free trade and supply and demand always sets the price.
Again, when people say that's unfair, it's not because it actually is unfair based on our definition of fairness, but because they don't like the reality of their position. They once again use fairness as a tactic, but it's not based on an actual absolute. So when people use the word unfair in business, whether it's one business segment calling another business segment unfair or a customer saying the whole system is unfair, that's not really true. Not at all. So if the unfairness of being smart and choosing the correct niche is ever present and available to you and part of our capitalist society, then how do you take advantage of your position in 2023 and beyond? How do you jump into that competitive game, that competitive spirit? Well the first is to invest in smart strategic assets, assets with a moat.
And of course I feel the best moat in American industry is the mobile home park sector. Why is that? Well, because they haven't allowed new mobile home parks to be built in half a century. They never will again. Did I do that? Did I cause that? Did I have the ability back in the 50s and the 60s and the 70s to ultimately shut the door on new park construction? No, that's just the way it worked out. But smart people see that trend and say, ah, here's an industry that supports the Buffett moat concept to the fullest. And they jump on that. Also remember that mobile home parks have a great alignment with all of the prevalent megatrends in America today. 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day, trying to downsize, reduce their cost. The megatrend of housing prices going through the roof, all these things create the demand for affordable housing. The great migration, moving people out of the urban core, out into the suburbs and the exurbs where all the mobile home parks exist. Well, I didn't cause that either. Just a fact of life that is what's going on. So clearly based on most of the drivers, most of the things that investors find smart, mobile home parks are well aligned with those.
Warren Buffett has always talked about the fact that you want to choose a business model that's super simple. Well it's tough to get a more simple business model than a parking lot. Next relish in the egalitarian nature of business and wrap up its fundamental underpinnings. Which is competition. You need to connect and commit with whatever niche you want to get into in the business world and then do it with relish. Understand that competition is the hallmark of our nation and there's nothing better you can do with your time than to jump into that battle. To compete to your fullest. To use the concept of volume. Volume of calls, cold calling, direct mail, brokers, seeking out mobile home parks that work for you. Attracting customers to those empty lots and homes. Follow with that. Embrace that. And ignore false cries of unfairness. They're simply meant to confuse and distract you from what's actually completely fair. Business in America today is probably the only remaining thing that's fair.
I would say the only other item that probably is fair are sports. Why are sports fair? Because you can't fake it. There's no nepotism in sports. There may be in sports ownership but it's certainly not in the players. Nolan Ryan tried to get his son to be a famous pitcher like he had been. It didn't really work. Either have it or you don't. But if you want fairness, if you crave fairness like a child craves fairness, you're only going to find that fairness in business. And when people tell you that business is inherently unfair, that's a complete lie. The opposite of business, the opposite of free trade, the opposite of capitalism, socialism, communism, those issues where you put all the power in the hands of a few who then use that power itself to do self-enrichment, that's what's truly unfair. Now, 2023 is going to be a tough year for the US. I don't know of any economist who would tell you to the contrary. But in every downturn, there are winners and there are losers. You want to be a winner. You want to go ahead and choose smartly the venue that you participate in and work it to its fullest.
There's absolutely nothing unfair in business, nothing unfair in the mobile home park industry and everything to be won. This is Frank Rolfe, the Mobile Home Park Mastery podcast. Hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.