Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Means To Wealth

It is not very wrong of a generalization to come to the conclusion that the mainstream left tends to demonize wealth and the rich. They seem hard-wired to be opposed to capitalism, but without a rational arguement as to why. They make it seem as if there is something inherently wrong with the achievment of wealth and property. Capitalism is completely mischaracterized - a mischaracterization which undoubtably has a socialist, even Marxist influence, wether it be direct or indirect. They seem to practically solely blame corporate greed and capitalism on all of economic problems, our standard of living issues. What the left needs is an economics 101 class - a severe unwiring and debunking of economically collectivist ideas.

I don't see corporate greed in the private economy as the fundamental problem that gives us bad economic conditions and a lower standard of living. I see the vast majority of it as coming from the inflation and tax burden that the government imposes on us and the inherent inefficiency of many of its services. I see a social welfare system that fails to be efficient and ends up taking more away from the populace's well-being than it can manage to give. I see people being taxed to pay for luxuries for someone else and a monetary system that erodes the value of the dollar and leads to a perpetual cycle of booms periods and depression periods. I see a buisiness-state relationship, a collusion between certain special interests and the government, as being the real "greed" going on, not buisiness itself.

It is ultimately the through the state, through subsidies, corporate welfare, protectionism and collusion, that much of the corporate priviledge is realized. The state is the instrument that provides the most power to give a special priviledge to buisinesses and industries and bail them out. Most people on the left make the mistake of not recognizing the role of the government-buisiness relationship, the government-industrial complex. Instead of seeing the role the government itself plays, they shift most if not all blame onto the private sector and conjure up a false generalization of "the rich" where they are thought of as inherently "exploitive" and "greedy".

There is nothing wrong with wealth and the rich. The question is of the means to wealth. There are two basic means to achieve wealth: The economic and political means. The economic means to wealth is voluntary cooperation, peace, exchange and production. The political means is violent expropriation and coercion. People using the economic means to wealth are expressing liberty in action and the more power to them. They have a natural right in the fruits of their labor and concience. People using the political means to wealth are knaves, bandits and protectionists. They are leeches.

The problem with the way most on the left attacks capitalism is that they often cite problems that involve the political means to wealth and blame it on the economic means - I.E. the free market. And, many liberals themselves end up supporting the political means to wealth as a result. This confusion between "state capitalism" and real capitalism, between "economic democracy" (capitalism) and expropriation and "exploitation", presents a never-ending false debate about capitalism and the division of labor.

It is ultimately the economic means to wealth, peaceful and voluntary exchange and contract, that is the ethical and necessary path for mankind. The longer people continue to view free exchange and free contract as a "threat" to them while being blind to the role that the government plays in their economic problems, the more they elongate and worsen the threat that government largesse poses to their liberty and standard of living.

Government ownership of the means of the production can only destroy wealth and the standard of living, because it does not provide the economic incentive to advance, it has no economic ladder and it has no incentive towards efficiency, no profit/loss margins - it has no incentive towards appeasing demand. It bases its existance on taking away from the wealth and well-being of the people, denying them fundamental ownership of property and freedom to exchange/contract.

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