Why Wealth Bashing?
It is an oft-repeated axiom that a person can learn a whole lot about a society by how it treats its poor; but just as much may be learned by looking at how that same society treats its rich. Indeed, the economic future of the poor—and our nation—will be determined in the coming decades by how we treat the people in this country who create great wealth. It will be determined by our understanding of the so-called rich and by our need to foster and protect this minority of true wealth creators.
It is an unpopular thing to say, I know. Rich people need help? Rich people need to be protected? “Give me a break,” people say. “They just seem to keep getting richer!”
I am talking here about the entrepreneur who risks all of the capital he can muster from his family and friends to build a company that fills an underserved niche in the market, provides a needed service, or develops a new technology. These are the people the plundering bureaucrats and career politicians have deemed “the rich.” These are the people they have targeted for appropriation to support their unsustainable way of life.
Regrettably, too many Americans, and far too many of the intellectuals and politicians, understand neither these people we call “the rich” nor the methods they have used to become rich in the first place.
To begin with, the rich in this country are chosen not by blood, credentials, education, or service to the establishment. The rich become rich based on their performance and their relentless desire to serve the customer. The entrepreneurial knowledge that is the crux of wealth creation has little to do with glamorous work or with the certified expertise of advanced degrees.
Great wealth rarely comes from speculating and creating nothing. The John Paulsons of the world are a very small and very lucky group. Most major wealth creation comes from doing what other people consider insufferably boring: navigating the tedious intricacies of software languages, designing more efficient garbage collection routes, or designing a system for stocking fresh products on the shelves in grocery stores is not glamorous.
The truth is that unpredictability is a fundamental part of great wealth creation, and, as such, it defies every econometric model or centralized planner’s vision.
The landscape of capitalism may seem solid and settled and ready for seizure, but capitalism is really a mindscape. Volatile and shifting ideas, and the human beings behind them, are the source of our nation’s wealth, not heavy and entrenched establishments. There is no bureaucratic net that can catch the fleeting thoughts of the greatest entrepreneurs of our past or our future.Share: