Saturday, October 25, 2008

Can I Get An AMEN?

Hat tip to the great Iowahawk for the link. Gene Fama, aka Tidestemmer is my new soulmate in Economics. Hallelujah. Below is the entire text of his post "Spread It Around". Bold emphasis mine.

First of all, “the wealth” is a Marxist fiction. There isn’t some large, limited pile of communal wealth that just happened to get allocated disproportionately to “the rich.” Wealth is created. The best economic systems encourage the creation of wealth, they don’t redistribute it—and make no mistake, at the extremes the two are mutually exclusive goals. If you can earn as much, or almost as much, as you’d earn in a starter job by not working, why would you take a starter job? To wear an ugly uniform and get lorded over by some jerk manager? Yet taking a job contributes to wealth, your own and other people’s while welfare doesn’t. (I’d go so far as to say the best contribution most people can make to society is to get a job.)

Marxism is flawed because it views wealth as a public good, limited in quantity, and a zero-sum game. The only way to accumulate wealth is at the expense of someone else, who either lost that wealth or was deprived of wealth by your success in attaining it. In this view, wealth, rather than being the result of creating things that improve everyone’s lives—including, but not limited to, jobs and more wealth)—can only result from coercion, which needs to be ‘corrected’ by a greater coercion.

Yet, if you really want to know what people want and need, look at what they pay for—not what they vote for. Wealth is created when people voluntarily transfer the product of their energy for the product of other people’s energy. On a large scale, this allows them to realize an economic liberty that is limitless. Which is why we should want people to get super rich and we should love it when our corporations are really, really profitable.

The alternative of spreading the wealth around by government fiat is a non-creative act akin to stealing—and the opposite of fairness. Ultimately, it’s corrosive to the wealth of everyone involved, including its intended beneficiaries.