The other day, Obama said to business owners that they didn’t build their business, someone else did. He may as well have said to workers that someone else built that house, that car, that tractor, because the worker didn’t make the tools that made it possible, nor mine the raw materials. Obama took the division of labor that makes greater things possible and turned it on its head, claiming that no one can be great because no one makes something from beginning to end.
He took Milton Friedman’s Lesson of the Pencil and turned it on its head.
The thing is, cooperation between free individuals means we can create greater things. We do create something great by working together. Henry Ford made the Model T. He didn’t mine the steel or tap the rubber trees, but he did make the Model T. That the steel and rubber were important goes without saying. To claim that the steel and rubber were responsible for the Model T is, however, absurd, and turns the entire understanding of division of labor on its head. Division of labor is done so that higher things can be achieved, so that the Model T or the 747 or the FN SCAR can be developed, not so that the dirt farmer can be glorified for building the Burj Dubai; or so that wasteful government spending repaving roads that don’t need it in order to justify their overinflated budgets can claim that all your business are belong to them.
Every individual contribution builds something great. That they contribute does not deny their part, nor does it deny the greatness of the completed work. Shakespeare didn’t create the English language, others came up with the words… ergo he didn’t write his plays?