Economic Inequality: A Small Price To Pay For Staying Human

Posted: September 7, 2012 by ShortTimer in Economic freedom, Economics, free markets, Redistribution, Socialism

A really good article by Oleg Atbashian over at The People’s Cube:

To paraphrase Baudelaire, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world of the moral superiority of collectivism. According to Ayn Rand, if we don’t convince the world otherwise, nothing else will work. Our greatest ally in this fight is human nature. Our greatest asset is morality itself, which is really, truly, undeniably, and absolutely on our side.

Today’s political debates often end up in the following compromise: capitalism may be more economically efficient, but it’s no moral match to economic equality that benefits most people. But the only way economic equality can benefit people is by pandering to their class envy. In all other aspects — economical, political, cultural, philosophical, and spiritual — it’s a dastardly, immoral cause.

~

To begin with, it is the efficiency of capitalism that benefits most people. Among other things, it raises everyone’s living standards and quality of life; expands consumer choices; boosts innovation that reduces the share of low-paying, mind-numbing manual jobs; increases the pool of well-paid professional jobs; gives the poor access to things that only the rich could enjoy a short while ago; promotes the creation of new cures of diseases; extends life expectancy and makes old age much more enjoyable.

The alternative to capitalism — whatever one would like to call it — is the loss of freedom, loss of choices, government corruption, and moral decay. What do we get in return? The vague promise of economic equality.

But in human reality, complete economic equality cannot be achieved. A century of collectivist social experiments around the world has proven three undeniable facts: One, government-enforced economic equality results in a forced inequality of a powerless, impoverished populace ruled by a corrupt elite. Two, the main obstacle to economic equality is human nature. Three, human nature cannot be changed, no matter the effort to re-educate, indoctrinate, or punish the violators.

An essential part of everyone’s human nature is what collectivists are maligning as greed. Generally speaking, it is a normal desire of all humans to achieve a better life for themselves and their children. In a free capitalist system, “greed-driven” achievers engage in lawful productive work, start businesses, and build things. In a restrictive socialist system, to achieve a better station in life, one must either join the corrupt government apparatus, or become part of the criminal underworld with its vast shadow economy. The alternative is to succumb to misery and, very likely, alcoholism or worse. In the end, capitalism brings out the best in people; socialism brings out the worst.

How worthy and moral can an ideal be that punishes achievement and criminalizes human nature?

Read the rest at The People’s Cube.

Worth noting is that Atbashian did Soviet agitprop back before the USSR fell, and thus learned much of this through direct experience by being on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

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