The Economy of Greed

“God must love the common people – He made so many of them.” – Abraham Lincoln

The dynamics of the free-market combined with a strong rule of law necessitates that man must serve others in order to earn a livelihood, to please consumers to make money. Only by providing a good or service better, with more ease of use for the consumer, and for less, can a man expect to get rich.

Contrast this with Corporate America. With big government and massive federal bureaucracies that employ literally millions of Americans just to regulate the many aspects of a national economy, massive corporations counterintuitively gain power over consumers and industries as well. Why? Because the supposed “middle ground” between a free market society and socialism called Corporatism allows and even incentivizes men to get rich by buying off the politicians and bureaucracies that control so much. Its not a coincidence that many board members of government bureaucracies are also the CEOs of the very companies they’re meant to regulate. Massive corporations thus manipulate government regulations and use their political connections to receive subsidies and bail outs from Congress. Corporations that would fail in a free-market because of their repeated mistakes are instead fed with the money earned by the sweat of the American people and become leeches on society.

The government thus enables greedy people to build empires on the backs of the 99%. This is precisely the kind of anti-social behavior a free-market  can practically eliminate.

However, even if every issue brought to Congress wasn’t politicized for the purpose of advancing careers, gaining personal benefits and pushing ideologies, even if we could ensure that the intentions of every politician and every bureaucrat were pure and just then centrally planned economies like Corporatism or Socialism would still only lead to dismal failure. Why? Because, as the old saying goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. What matters, is not mere intentions (though we should always have the best intentions at heart) but actual actions and their consequences. The economy of a whole nation is incredibly sophisticated and every action has unintended consequences. Is price regulation with the intent of providing affordable goods and services a good idea if it means no one has pants but the market is being flooded with millions of buttons? These are exactly the kind of situations that plagued Soviet Russia. While warehouses were crammed with an overabundance of certain goods that no one was buying, people would line the streets for hours waiting for some much needed good in high demand but short supply.

It is precisely because of the sheer complexity of economics that the politician’s job regarding the economy is so simple: protect rights and prevent anti-social behaviors (like the pursuit of monopolies for example) – because to centrally plan a national economy is far beyond the competency of any human being, or even an army of human beings like that needed to run our bureaucracies. We don’t need, for example, a President who can “run the country” but one who will create the conditions necessary to allow each individual to make his or her own decisions and thus each affect the economy in their own small way. Because only God could possibly manage the infinite variables of a national economy without treading the path towards rampant poverty for all.

Instead of putting our faith in central planning, where the conceited few on the top make the decisions for everyone else we should instead relinquish the mirage of control. In a free-market society the masses make the decisions. No one person or group of people is in control pulling the strings. Instead, our society must be allowed to adjust to the practically infinite variables of our economy based on the trillions of little decisions made by 311 million Americans everyday.

By divvying up the economic power of a nation among millions it thus becomes very difficult for the CEO of a massive company or the regulatory board of a leviathan bureaucracy to seize control, to cheat or exploit, or to, in any other way, effectively act on dispositions of greed. No amount of economic intervention can eliminate greed but with a free-market and strong rule of law we can at least render it impotent.

Because, it is liberty and not Nietzsche’s Ubermensch, his superman, that is the prerequisite to economic prosperity.

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