Capitalism

People Love To Criticize Capitalism. Here's Why They're Wrong.

In capitalist societies, the poor get richer.

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Everywhere, people trash capitalism.

But what they think they know about capitalism is usually wrong.

My new video debunks some myths about capitalism.

"No one ever makes a billion dollars," complains Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.). "You take a billion dollars." In other words, capitalists get rich by taking money from others.

That's nonsense, and Myth Number One.

People believe that myth if they think that when one person wins, someone else must lose. It's natural to believe that if you think there is a finite amount of money in the world. But there isn't.

Free markets increase total wealth. Competition encourages entrepreneurs to find new ways to release more value from both people and resources.

Because capitalism is voluntary and consumers have choices, the only way capitalists can get rich is to offer us something that we believe is better than we had before.

That creates new wealth.

Steve Jobs became a billionaire. But by creating Apple, he gave us more: millions of jobs and billions of dollars added to our economy.

Research shows that entrepreneurs only keep 2.2 percent of the additional wealth they generate. "In other words, the rest of us captured almost 98 percent of the benefits," says economist Dan Mitchell of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.

"I hope that we get 100 new super billionaires," he adds, "Because that means 100 new people have figured out ways to make the rest of our lives better off."

But former Labor Secretary Robert Reich says we should "abolish billionaires." He wants some form of wealth tax to hold their wealth down. "Entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos would be just as motivated by $100 million or even $50 million," Reich claims.

But Mitchell points out that if their income is limited, "maybe they just take it easy…retire…sail a yacht around the world…consuming instead of saving and producing."

I want them saving and producing! Billionaires have shown that they're good at cutting prices or improving products or both.

As Michell puts it, "I'm not giving Jeff Bezos any money unless he's selling me something that I value more than that money."

Even if they don't—even if they run out of ideas—their wealth is useful.

One reader called me "a complete moron" for saying that. He argues that "more money in the richest hands means money sitting in the bank doing nothing."

But that's an ignorant view of banks. Because banks loan that money out, they enable other people to buy homes, start new businesses, and get educated.

Still, I hear that "the rich are getting richer, while the poor get poorer!"

That's Myth Number Two. Yes, the rich got lots richer, but the poor and middle class got richer, too.

"The economic pie grows," says Mitchell. "We are much richer than our grandparents, and our grandparents were much richer than their grandparents."

For thousands of years, the world had almost no wealth creation. Only when some countries tried capitalism did gross domestic product grow.

Capitalists helped everyone, including the poor.

The media suggest that today's wealth gap proves that's no longer true. But they are wrong. Capitalism's gradual progress continues. Census Bureau data shows that the average family today is almost a third richer than 40 years ago (yes, adjusted for inflation).

The media also say, "The middle class is in decline."

It's true, Mitchell points out. "It's shrinking because more people move into upper-income quintiles! The rich get richer in a capitalist society. But guess what? The rest of us get richer as well."

Next week, more myths about capitalism.

COPYRIGHT 2021 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

NEXT: Biden's Tax Plan Means 60 Percent of Taxpayers Will Pay More

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  1. “People Love To Criticize Capitalism.”

    I have my own criticisms of capitalism.
    It should be noted that I do support a free market which is ALL libertarian ideology requires.

    Those claiming libertarianism requires support of capitalism are either naïve or ignorant of libertarian ideology.

    1. Stossel should not be supporting capitalism in the name of libertarianism regardless – unless his goal is to scare away those that lean to the left.

      The specific belief in capitalism is a personal belief rather than a libertarian / political one.

      1. Capitalism is what happens when contracts and property rights are enforced, as well as criminal laws against force and coercion.

        It’s not an “ism” in the sense of communism and socialism which require the initiation of force.

        Capitalism is the economic system that spontaneously emerges when people are nice to each other.

        That’s it.

        1. Capitalism is a tool, a system that can be utilized by socialism as well as a free market.
          Remember who coined the term. It was created specifically to vilify a decentralized market economy.
          Nothing inherent to the use of currency and accumulation of capital requires or guarantees a free market.

          1. If individuals are not free to produce and exchange, as they are in the free market, there will be no accumulation of wealth or currency . Hence Capitalism requires a free market.

            The only way Capitalism can be a “tool” of Socialism or Communism is for Socialist and Communists to use Capitalism to death. The only thing that kept the Soviet System going was the extension of money and credit from the U.S. and the West in general, as documented by Werner Keller in the book East Minus West Equals Zero.. The same holds true for the remaining Communist systems in Red China, North Korea, and the remaining Communist States of Southeast Asia.

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          2. Yeah, sure. Capitalism doesn’t require a free market, just an adequately functioning one. But I think that a truly free market on sufficient scale is almost certain to produce the phenomenon we call capitalism.

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        2. Marx literally named “Capitalism “.

    2. “It should be noted that I do support a free market which is ALL libertarian ideology requires.”

      Individual rights lie at the heart of libertarian philosophy. A free-market is simply an individual’s right to sell products and services.

    3. Capitalism is compatible with the free market. Not required by the free market, but certainly not condemned by it. Under the classic liberal frameworks of Western Civilization, capitalism is just about assured under a free market environment.

      When most people rail against capitalism, they’re usually pointing their fingers at crony capitalism. The special privileges and back dealings from government. It’s the tax and regulatory structures in place that encourage bigness and takeovers. When you need an army of lawyers to do business in the US, then only those companies with armies of lawyers will do business.

      Getting a lot of the brains full of mush onto freedom’s size is to emphasize that big business is NOT synonymous with the free market. If a company is big under the free market then it must have voluntarily provided the goods and services people wanted. No more FoxConn deals, no more bribing Carrier to stay, no more tariffs to decide who gets to win and who must lose.

      The free market does mean we can’t block foreign companies for merely being foreign. But at the same time it’s not going to hinder the ability of domestic firms to compete with them. Tariffs are ineffectual bandages for wounds caused by government policy.

      1. “crony capitalism” is an oxymoron, as is “state capitalism”. Just call it cronyism – it isn’t capitalism at all.

        Pure capitalism means NO government involvement in the economy. Cronyism is the very opposite.

    4. This.

      When you’re talking about capitalism, you’re playing on your opponent’s ground and using their terminology.
      There are a lot of ways to go wrong with capitalism, especially the crony variety we see today.
      Fuck capitalism, argue for a free market.

      1. Another way to put it is that capitalism is a given in a modern industrialized society. Our choices aren’t between capitalism and not-capitalism, but free markets and unfree markets.

        Even the Soviet Union was capitalist.

        1. Or at least they were AFTER their farm collectivization program of the early ‘30s (when the state successfully seized control of at least 90% of the Union’s farmland and agricultural industry) directly resulted in somewhere between 8 million and 11 million Soviet citizens starving to death.

          1. Those were Ukrainian–it was genocide.

            1. Wasn’t limited to Ukraine; plenty of Russian residents were ‘rewarded’ also.

            2. It’s not genocide if you don’t call it that.

        2. So why did Capitalists have to ply their trade underground under Communist regimes?
          The real aversion to Capitalism is more just an “Ew! Ickie!” factor than anything.

      2. Lots of words started as derogatory but became normal terms. “Quakers” and “Impressionism” to name a few. Need to emphasize free markets as well, but I have no problem with defending capitalism. It’s the only think that has ever worked to raise most human beings out of a state of abject poverty.

      3. You DON’T want the means of production to be privately owned?

    5. a free market makes capitalism inevitable. You can’t support one without the other.

  2. The only thing wrong with capitalism is the name. Far as I’m concerned, capitalism is just a natural result of free enterprise. Socialism might denigrate the name and even the concept, but it still applies — someone has to pay to build the means of production before it can start producing. By definition, that can only be done by using the fruits of other production, whether from saved profits from previous production or from siphoning off the profits from other concurrent production.

    Profits themselves are misunderstood; they are just wages, but paid for using saved money instead of using other tools like shovels or computers which required money to build and buy. All that money from the fruits of production has to go somewhere, whether to invest in concurrently building new means of production, or saving for a rainy day, or consuming as the cost of operation in the form of food, shelter, clothing, transportation, or recreation.

    And money — it is just a replacement for barter. It represents access resources, nothing else. Its intrinsic value is less useful than the resources it allows access to, by definition, because it will always be used for its most valuable purpose, whether that is lighting a cigar to impress the rubes or buying blow and renting hookers or building new means of production.

    1. As I understand it, the name “capitalism” was coined by Marx as a pejorative. But taken on its face it’s the appropriate word for what it actually is. An economic system where production is based on the accumulation of capital. As such, even the factories in Anarcho-Syndicalist Spain were capitalist.

      But you are right that the word has been tainted from the beginning. I prefer “free market” or “free enterprise”, but not as synonyms for capitalism, because unfree market capitalism certainly exists. Just look around us.

      1. But I don’t think the word is correct, since it describes an inevitable consequence of having to pay for the means of production before they can start producing. Socialism also needs capital investment, it just hides it in accounting tricks because money is meaningless.

        Better to use ‘free enterprise’ or ‘free markets’, since that is the real issue. Make socialists admit by their vocabulary that they despise freedom.

        1. Well, I certainly like the aim of your second paragraph, but I’m not quite grasping the point of the first. You generally *do* need to pay for the means of production before you can start producing. Even if you’re leasing those means of production.

          Or is your point that it’s a meaningless term because it’s so fundamentally true, even in a socialist (thus, notionally non-capitalist) system? Like declaring that your economic model complies with the laws of physics? I.e.: accurate but pointless?

          1. Your second paragraph is exactly it.

            It’s similar to “market economy”, because markets always exist for scarce goods, whether payment is in bribery, nepotism, time spent in line, barter, theft, or anything else.

            1. Ok, thanks. Appreciate the clarification.

      2. I believe it’s called capitalism because when you have property rights and contract enforcement, you can safely invest capital in enterprises without worry of being robbed or swindled.

        Thus a capitalist can increase their wealth without “doing” anything, but simply by putting their capital to work.

        So the rich get richer simply because they’re rich.

        Reality is more complicated, but I think that’s where the name came from.

        1. Only if they put their wealth to work. Scrooge McDuck ain’t getting richer by keeping his wealth stuck in a vault (or his swimming pool). No one ever made a cent by hiding their money under the mattress.

          This means the rich get richer by foregoing hording and consumption, and investing instead.

          1. “No one ever made a cent by hiding their money under the mattress.”

            Especially if it’s an inflationary fiat currency.

          2. The way your faggot friends are destroying our currency, Scrooge McDuck’s money money bin actually makes sense. A repository of gold, platinum, precious gems, etc. would be a hedge against democrat villainy.

        2. No, some rich get richer because they have money and make good decisions. Plenty of rich get poorer because they have money and make bad decisions.

          And most poor people have some bad decisions in their past to blame.

          But linking reward to life decisions is SO unfair, right?

      3. To the degree the market is unfree, it isn’t capitalist. The US has a “mixed economy”.

  3. “Yes the rich got super rich but the poor and middle class got marginally better.”

    The equivalent of telling people to be happy with scraps.

    “Steve Jobs gave us jobs.” He didn’t give jack shit. In order to grow his wealth, he was forced to hire people. Any moron knows that labor is a net cost on a company. Acting like he is some kind of dignitary and benevolent job creator is bullshit of the highest order.

    You don’t have to hate capitalism to see the current bullshit of our system. Capitalism is fine when it’s properly regulated and properly unrestrained in other areas. Any idiot on the street can see we’re getting fucked while the rich get richer and buy off every politician there is. Why do you think Trump won?

    This kind of bullshit is music to Koch’s ears though so I’m sure he’s glad you wrote it.

    1. “Why do you think Trump won?”

      There are enough billionaires to outvote everyone else? Man, this country is even richer than I thought.

      1. Or is he saying that Trump won because people were noticing all the crony bullshit in the current system? That would be surprisingly sensible given the rest of the comment, but seems like a reasonable reading.

    2. So, if supporters of capitalism, especially the rich, I am assuming, “buy” all politicians, how did Biden win? Did the capitalists seize control of California? (Not that some of the wealthy won’t help elect politicians to help solidify their financial position, but that is a different matter — and certainly not an example of a free market.)

      1. Not to mention that billionaires are an abstract evil-thinking monolith. Their billions in no way indicate any proximity to *any* correct decisionmaking and only indicates how universally evil and wrong they are. The relatively multitudinous masses who shoot each other over the price of their next fix, OTOH, those are the moral paragons around which economies should be modeled and societies built.

        1. At least one billionaire paid half a billion dollars to get Biden and the Ds into power.

          1. And “the corporashuns!” were pretty united in their efforts to get Biden and the Ds power by any means necessary.

    3. By the same token, people don’t work for salaries because they love society and want to contribute. They just need that juicy paycheck to pay for their vacation and their car note.

      The great thing about capitalism is that society works and people improve their lives without having to pretend they’re doing it all for everyone else.

      As opposed to communism, where people kill their political rivals in inner-party power struggles and commit genocide on hated classes, just to dictate the terms of the economy to the poor peasants while the party elite drive around in big black cars, deciding who to shoot next.

      1. All to give to each according to their bare needs, of course.

        I guess some people need gulags.

      2. As Adam Smith put it …

        It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

        Those like razzie who don’t believe this are the second worst kind of autocrats, because they have zero comprehension of *anything* real, and only believe that everybody is a thief and scoundrel, and they intend to get your stuff because you don’t deserve it and they do. Thw worst, of course, is the true believer, who would rather burn you at the stake to save your soul than let your corporeal body survive a moment longer in sin.

        1. “…Those like razzie who don’t believe this are the second worst kind of autocrats, because they have zero comprehension of *anything* real, and only believe that everybody is a thief and scoundrel, and they intend to get your stuff because you don’t deserve it and they do…”

          This shit, LoS, Tony, the lot, are, at base greedy thieves who would rob you blind if they could; they simply believe that everyone else is a bereft of principles as are they.

    4. Shitlunches is a typical prog. If taxing billionaire wealth 99% meant that the country’s median income fell to $10K/year, he’d support it. Because equity.

    5. Another leftie shit with diarrhea of the mouth who makes unsupported statements without proof. End that nasty oxygen habit soon you pathetic sociopath.

    6. Steve Jobs owed you absolutely nothing, and yet he gave you jobs that he was willing to trade his money for and products that you were willing to trade your money for. And the irony is you’re still griping about it, when Steve was the one who took all of the risk. Meanwhile the poor and middle class take absolutely no risk and you complain that Steve got rich and all they got were iPhones and a means to trade their labor for food and shelter.

      He gave you a whole lot when in fact he owed you nothing, and yet you want to take more, more, more. Who is the greedy one again?

    7. 1) Capitalism is fine when it’s properly regulated and properly unrestrained in other areas….
      2) while the rich get richer and buy off every politician there is.

      Don’t you realize that it’s not capitalism that leads to the need to “buy off” politicians, but your very first point that leads to it? Take power away from government and the evil, rich capitalists no longer have a need to buy off government agents. Yet you call for more government agents to solve the problem they created.

      You aren’t very good at critical thinking are you?

      1. This, thank you.

        People bitch about the rich buying politicians, and propose the solution of making the politicians a higher value investment.

        Make it pointless to buy politicians and the rich will stop doing it.

        “Make Politicians Worthless Again!”

        Though I suppose that MPWA is pretty hard to pronounce…

    8. “…The equivalent of telling people to be happy with scraps…”

      Shit-for-brains here would prefer telling the people to be happy starving and getting sent to the camps.
      But he’s too fucking un-educated to understand that.

    9. If only there were some examples of countries that have forgone capitalism and seized the means of production, so we would know whether it works or not, whether it leads to mass starvation or not, whether it leads to environmental devastation or not….

      I guess we’ll never know.

    10. If we’re richer than before we’re not getting scraps, though. As long as I’m richer than I was why should I care if someone else is even richer than me? Envy is irrational.

    11. “Properly regulated” – translation: the wrong people are benefiting from government now.

      All regulation leads to cronyism. And the poor will never win the cronyism game, because politicians are in bed with the wealthy. Meanwhile, cronyism makes us poorer than we would have been. There is no ‘proper regulation’ (and even if there was, you could never know what it is, because key knowledge is local and ever-changing).

  4. Of course AOC thinks you have to steal a billion dollars in order to have it. It’s the only avenue to being a billionaire she can contemplate being successful at. The statement really says far more about her than the free market.

    1. Paul Allen and Bill Gates are instructive. They built a company in an sector that simply did not exist at the time they joined forces to start Microsoft. They didn’t steal their billions from anyone because there simply were no computer software billions to steal. That they came out on top while other software companies did not is a different set of stories. But they did not steal their billions. I though their shenanigans that let to the antitrust suits where stinky shit, but still they did not steal their billions.

      Microsoft got its start with a BASIC interpreter that Bill Gates wrote. They later put out some very good an relatively affordable compilers for microcomputers. Which put them in position to big on producing one of the operating systems for the original IBM PC. There were four operating systems at launch, one of them took off because it better met the needs of the market.

      Now I’m not praising Ballmer because he was a cronyist seeking government advantages. He was also a major dick. But Gates and Allen definitely earned their billions by creating a company that produced goods and services people wanted. That they were lucky to be in the right place at the right time is incidental.

      1. Don’t gloss over the fact that Bill Gates stole the model for his BASIC interpreter from college dumpster, literally. Yes, he did steal that, if you believe in copyrights. Strangely enough, I don’t, but I also think he was a grade A hypocrite for complaining about people who copied his BASIC interpreter.

        1. I also understand also stole the idea for “Windows” format from 3M. Of course, 3M never copyrighted the format because the head of 3M at that time purportedly said something like “Why would anyone want a computer in their home?” I have the highest regards for 3M, but even the best can miss the boat on occasion.

          1. You don’t “steal” ideas, especially ideas that are not patented. I also suspect you are thinking of Xerox rather than 3M. It was Xerox PARC that gave us the GUI shell, the mouse, and hypertext. I worked in the old PARC building for a brief time. I also got a chance to use a PARCstation back in the day. It was pretty cool.

            People bitch at Microsoft only because of the anti-trust, but it was Apple that shamelessly copied PARC for their LISA product. Which was fine with Xerox. It wasn’t theft, as ideas are meant to be shared freely. Patents were the worst thing to happen to software.

          2. Xerox, not 3M. And Apple had already done it with the Macintosh.

          3. It was Xerox, and he didn’t actually steal it.

        2. His interpreter was legit. He didn’t steal it, but he may have borrowed some ideas. The language itself was from Dartmouth, the actual interpreter was his.

          This does NOT negate his IP hypocrisy, but he was a genuine coder who wrote genuinely useful code.

          p.s. DOS was based on CPM/86, but Microsoft purchased the rights to that. And Windows was its own and while I don’t know the details, just about every GUI shell at of the era was taking cues from PARC. And even then Windows was a joke until version 3.

  5. In order to grow his wealth, he was forced to hire people.

    So this system drives the rich to benefit others in order to accomplish their own goals? No wonder people whose political vision is based on hate and fearmongering hate the system which constantly improves circumstances for everyone.

    1. Yeah, Amazon was going to hire thousands of people in AOC’s district, but she made sure her district wasn’t exploited like that….

      1. “Yeah, Amazon was going to hire thousands of people in AOC’s district, but she made sure her district wasn’t exploited like that…”

        Yep, productive work for money = “exploitation” to bar-keeps with EL degrees.

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  8. How to hate capitalism:

    1. Become a complete economic idiot. Reject concepts of scarcity, supply and demand, costs vs. benefits, present vs. future value, markets, pricing, etc.

    2. Become a complete physical science idiot. Refuse to know anything about natural resources, physical materials, production and distribution mechanics, etc.

    3. Become a complete social science idiot. Assume that all humans share the same values and motivations that you view as ideal, especially for communal living.

    4. Embrace equality, or more recently, equity, as the highest priority and fundamental moral goal. Tell yourself (and others) that a society of equally poor people is better than a society where some have more than others, but almost nobody is poor.

    5. Take all your wisdom as a mandate for authoritarian government and a command economy.

    1. You’ve just described 9 out of 10 politicians, and 9 out of 10 of the people who vote for them.

      1. And brandybuck, raspberrydinners, sarcamsic, etc.

    2. 6. Be envious of other people’s stuff and want to devise ways to take it for yourself (or support people who will do it for you).

      1. 7. Be jealous that other people have things you don’t, especially things you don’t want to have, and find ways to steal and/or destroy them anyway.

    3. Such oriole have no place in America, and must be made to leave. One way or the other.

  9. > In order to grow his wealth, he was forced to hire people.

    I have a cousin who married a multi-millionaire. At age 75 he sold a business for 50 million. At age 80 he was bored to death so he started a new business. I was visiting him with the family when he told us about his new venture.

    I won’t go into details, but it was NOT a matter of “dammit, I need to hire people”. Rather it was a matter of, “I’ve got this great idea but no way do I have the knowledge or capacity to do it on my own. I’m going to need technical people and developers and engineers and administrative office folk and people who know marketing. I could also be way off base, so I need people who can do market research. Oh, and I’ll need people to manage the building and keep it clean, and maybe a receptionist.”

    That was what was going through his mind. I know because he tried to recruit me not to invest, but to join the new company. (I didn’t for various reasons).

    So the idea that people like Jobs were “forced” to hire people is off base. He wasn’t forced to do anything, he was merely intelligent enough to know he couldn’t achieve his goal alone. This is not some amazing revelation, it’s basic common sense.

  10. “No one ever makes a billion dollars,” complains Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.). “You take a billion dollars.”

    Of course, AOC is still looking for the Molotov cocktail recipe in her bartender’s guide…

    1. Hey, AOC! I heard that if you do a couple of shots of gasoline, your speeches will be extra fiery!

  11. Good ol Stossel. What will this place be when he is gone? Pot and hookers for anarchomarxists?

    1. Stossel is a national treasure. It’s not simply that he understands the concepts of free markets, it’s that he can boil them down to the point that everyone else can understand it better and hardly be able to refute his points.

      Could you imagine how awesome a debate between Stossel and AOC, Liz Warren, or Bernie would be?

      1. Now *that* is a debate I’d pay to watch.

      2. “more people move into upper-income quintiles”
        It would be an interesting debate, especially when Mr. Stossel tries to explain how more than 20% of a population can be in a quintile.

        1. Let’s see the quote.

        2. if you define the middle class by income quintile, it can technically never ‘shrink’ either. Clearly he’s being a bit metaphorical with his point here.

  12. Stossel states next week more myths about Capitalism. I’m surprised Reason still posts his stuff

    Reason actually published the myths every day.

    1. Link?

    2. Lefty shits continue to ignore the 20th century, which leaves us with ignorant assholes like this.

  13. “But Mitchell points out that if their income is limited, “maybe they just take it easy…retire…sail a yacht around the world…consuming instead of saving and producing.”

    The idea is that maybe at a some point people should stop and do something else. There are people who seem to make money just to make money. They have more than they will ever need but they feel compelled to make more. There is a point at which a person should step back and let other make the new products and produce the new jobs. It is not that the world needs more billionaires, but that in fact needs many more millionaires.

    1. OK, this has got to be:
      1. A parody account
      2. The cat on the keyboard
      3. The result of arrested development at, oh, age 10
      4. A raging asshole.

      1. I’m not sure you’re not a parody account rummy.

        I don’t get how someone so senile could use a phone or computer. Does your loser 12 step sponsor help you log on and off?

        1. asshole flag!

        2. You’re one of the dumbest shitweasels to post here. You hav eno business criticizing anyone. Best you commit suicide right away.

          You’re a traitor to America, and anathema to patriots like me.

          1. I have no idea what the asshole posts; it gets flagged and refreshed prior to any reading.
            Before that practice, the asshole simply posted to prove he is an asshole; as such, he gets the asshole flag.

    2. I don’t think most self-made billionaires get that way because they are obsessed with getting more money. Rather, they are highly motivated people who like doing what they are doing and are good at it. The reason they don’t stop working and retire is that they want to do what they are doing and would get bored just sailing around or whatever. I’m not one of those people. If I had a few million in assets, I’d probably not keep a job, but I can understand that other people might have different desires and motivations.

    3. You completely missed the point. The only way you can rich in the market is by providing more of what people want more cheaply (and by reducing your costs you also free up resources for other producers to produce other things people want). It’s a total win win.

      1. Really, what about the book store owner who was buried by Amazon. Not a win-win for them.

        1. But a win for their consumers, who are paying ~1/2 as much for books, and get them delivered to their door for free.

    4. If they’re continuing to make money, it means they’re producing a good the market wants, and doing so better than ‘the other guy’. It would hurt consumers for them to ‘step back’, because those other people are objectively making worse products. (Otherwise, they’d already be making money and producing products).

  14. “…But former Labor Secretary Robert Reich says we should “abolish billionaires.”…”

    Simple: If he said it, it’s a lie.

  15. Only a politician can take a billion dollars (without going to jail). Capitalists have to earn it, or lobby the government to squelch the competition so they can earn it on an uneven playing field.

    But not only are profitable capitalist businesses morally and practically defensible, due to to earning their wealth voluntarily and growing society’s wealth, they are also incentivized to reduce the costs to create that wealth. The most profitable companies are the ones that create the greatest value (as measured by money freely paid for their goods and services) at the lowest cost in resources consumed (labor, land, capital, etc.).

    In a capitalist society, people who are good at generating revenues while minimizing resource costs accumulate wealth, and can apply that wealth and that expertise to other business ventures, in a beneficial upward spiral. In a socialist paradise as envisioned by AOC, wealth accrues not to the productive, but to those who curry the favor of the government and those who promise the voters wealth taken from others.

    It’s the socialists who are greedy.

  16. If you’re going to frame it as a tribal thing, you’re going to come across as an idiot. There is no society on earth that has lived by a fully-formed economic ideology that didn’t collapse into a conflagration of death immediately.

    The trappings of capitalism have never worked successfully without the trappings of democratic government. You have to regulate markets like you regulate factories or crosswalks or zoos or anything else. If you think a global economy can work without rules, you’re a lunatic who needs things to be simple so that you understand them.

    No serious person in power, and almost no serious person out of power, is advocating for anything but a version of capitalism.

    You don’t get to turn everyone into Bad Team Ape and be done with it by affixing -isms to everything. You have to defend your policy ideas on their merits. That means evidence, not fairy stories.

    God I’m sick of you people and your crap.

    1. “…No serious person in power, and almost no serious person out of power, is advocating for anything but a version of capitalism…”

      And here’s shitstian to lower the bar on ‘lefty stoooooopid’ once again! And succeeding!

    2. Let’s add a gold in the stooopid straw-man competition:

      “… If you think a global economy can work without rules, you’re a lunatic who needs things to be simple so that you understand them…”

    3. Tony, we have no need to prove anything to you. You’re a moron, and only marginally human. You couldn’t possibly understand anything we tried to explain to you anyway.

      Your whole socioeconomic and political philosophy boils down to your feeling entitled to live off the efforts of those far. Ore productive than yourself. While at the same time being filled with envy and spite towards those you parasitically feed from.

      Best you be removed from this country, and sent somewhere more in line with beliefs. Perhaps China, or Iran.

    4. You make a good point. No nation has a purely capitalist system, most are a blend of capitalism with socialism. The real question is not capitalism vs socialism but rather how you blend the system to get to a desired goal. Keeping the innovation provided by capitalism while providing safety net for those who need them. The innovation side is not just capitalism but the side rails that keep innovation going. Sometimes individuals or companies become so large that rather than innovating they are in a protective roll that seeks to limit the innovation of others. And sometimes they have enough power to use the government to stop competitors and others innovations.

      1. Astutely put. Even if the only thing society cared about was discovering more efficient ways to make profit, the sum total of our economy would be bartering rocks if not for public investment and organization.

        I think there’s value in scientific discovery even if it only costs resources and never makes a financial return for anyone, but the point is you don’t know where new opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship will be, and you have to do the curiosity-fueled work of basic science to uncover the opportunities we don’t even know exist yet.

        1. Companies used to invest substantially in basic research. There’s been a shift over the last ~50+ years towards shorter and shorter term thinking, which is what’s been killing basic corporate research.

          This is a reaction to increasing government regulation of the economy. The rules keep changing. And because you therefore expect the rules to keep changing, its not worth investing in the far future. (The increasing regulation goes back to FDR at least, but business reaction to it was probably delayed, both because of threshold effects and because it takes awhile to establish the pattern of government action for businesses to properly factor it into their decision-making).

          Consider the Trump business tax cuts. Many businesses turned around and used that money for stock buybacks. Sure, that doesn’t make much longterm sense, but none of those businesses are expecting those tax cuts to last. So they could invest in new facilities, new jobs, or raises for current workers – but then when taxes are later increased, they won’t be able to continue to support those costs. They could increase dividends, but that would come with an expectation that those dividends would stay increased. So, knowing that politicians are going to change the rules on them again, they chose a way to ‘give money back to shareholders’ which came with no long term obligations. Not because it was the best business decision in some ideal world, but because it was the best business decision in a world where you can’t trust politicians to leave well enough alone, and thus can’t plan even 5 years out.

          Stable rules, ie, vastly less government regulation (and rarely changed), would lead to much longer term thinking by businesses.

    5. Of course we need rules. Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff. What else do you need?

      1. A definition of “hurt” and “take.”

        If you pay a tween 2 cents an hour to work on an assembly line, does that count as a “hurt”?

  17. I’ll never be a millionaire, let alone a billionaire.
    But worrying about AOC’s nonsense being taken seriously keeps me awake at night.
    And not in a good way.

  18. I am making 7 to 6 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 40 dollar Easily YDF .. This is enough for me to happy my family..how ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…Visit Here

  19. > “No one ever makes a billion dollars,” complains Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.). “You take a billion dollars.”

    I don’t know why that should matter to her; all you have to do is print more money, then there’s plenty to go around.

  20. Good stuff from Stossel as usual. My quibble is with his claim that entrepreneurs are good because they add money to the economy. Strictly speaking what they add is WEALTH, not money. Adding new money in itself is not socially beneficial.

    1. How do they add wealth?

      At some point you’re talking about the process of transforming natural resources into human needs and wants. Why does anyone have a stake to natural resources in the first place? Who decides who gets to exploit what?

      1. What is wealth?

        How do you add wealth?

        Get a dog. A dog will generate the following ROI.

        A dog will love you unconditionally.

        A dog will protect your property, if nothing but serving as an early warning system far better than a ring doorbell.

        A dog will give you companionship and are proven to improve your mental health.

        A dog will help you in social interactions. Go walk the dog and see how much the neighbors come around. Dogs are magnets for human interaction (dogs are chick magnets, or guy whatever)

        A dog will get you off the couch and improve your physical health.

        Dogs will improve your moral turpitude. They are known for loyalty, sensitivity, intelligence, and courage.

        There is no better investment than a dog.

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