Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blaming Others and the Contributions of the Wealthy

Modern liberalism has always held the belief in the zero sum theory - that if one person makes more money than another, he is somehow stealing that money from others and creating a division of wealth. This is at the root of Marx's ideas, which should have proved bankrupt and defunct years ago with the fall of the Soviet Union. They remain because of the religious reverence they are given and their seductive nature. When misfortune happens, human nature tells us to blame others.

President Obama has certainly contributed to preaching the gospel of zero sum socialism. Here is a man who should be praising the "rags to riches" American story, yet instead convinces weak-minded Americans that he is still a victim. He's the President of the United States, for crying out loud, and he blames all his troubles and problems and faults on others.

He truly is the poster child of the childish, selfish, me generation of spoiled brats that pass for modern liberals.

But I digress.

Which brings me back to modern liberalism's zero sum game. The reality of the free market is that wealth is produced by those who have something to contribute to society. Unlike politicians, who think wealth is generated by taxes, then handing those taxes out to others (after paying 50% to the bureaucracy), wealth is generated by making peoples' lives better.

Wealth generation is not a zero sum game. Wealth is shared and created when society is free to act in its own self interests. Class structure truly disappears when anyone (even Obama) can rise up from poor beginnings to become wealthy people (even Obama).

A few examples will suffice.

John D. Rockefeller, considered as the richest man who ever lived, got rich by selling kerosene. He manufactured it more cheaply and in mass quantity, allowing ordinary people the luxury of affording cheap, and relatively clean, fuel to heat their homes. (Compared with burning wood or coal, kerosene is much cleaner.) Yes, Rockefeller became rich, but he did so by lifting up millions of people who willingly traded their money for a better, cheaper source of heat.

Edison and Westinghouse both got rich by trading the even cleaner, cheaper, and safer power source of electricy for peoples' money. The people were happy and better off, and, well, some people made money off of that. So did a lot of others who could use the cheaper electricity to run their factories.

Henry Ford gave Americans a cheap and reliable automobile. Oh, and he got rich doing it. So did many others who were able to sell cars, provide petrol, run motels, and build roadside diners.

Bill Gates gained considerable wealth by running with an idea about how computers could change lives. He was right. We all bought computers. He got rich. Many of us use computers every day to run businesses, to advertise, to create designs, to analyze the stock market, and to create wealth for ourselves.

The liberal mantra against "the rich" fails to account for how wealth is actually generated, and how wealth spawns more wealth.