Life and Wealth Accumulation are NOT Zero Sum Games

There will (thankfully) be many more who will refute the stupid idea put forth in Buzzfeed regarding Forbes’ list of billionaires: “These 8 Men Own As Much Wealth As Half The World.”  Here is the first one I came across by Ben Shapiro.  Some quotes from the article (emphasis by me):

First off, there is no indicator anywhere in this report that the wealth of the world’s eight wealthiest men was ill-gotten. There is no record of them enslaving people or robbing banks or burning down rivals’ businesses. The reason these people are rich is because they have founded businesses that created better products and services and engaged in more consensual transactions than any other people on planet earth. Bill Gates’ Microsoft created a reputed 12,000 millionaires among his employees. Microsoft currently employs more than 100,000 people. Microsoft employees have given more than $1 billion to charity. Microsoft products have made millions of lives easier and better and millions of businesses cheaper to run…

…these rich people aren’t prospering at the expense of others. Since 1981, the global extreme poverty rate has been sliced in half. Meanwhile, from 1979 to 2014, the upper middle class in America grew from 12 percent to 30 percent of the population. America’s poor are doing better than the middle class in most places on earth, thanks to the glories of free market economics…

A richer world relies on freer markets both at home and abroad. But the foolish, inconsistent focus on income inequality merely provides cover for policies that enhance human suffering rather than mitigating it.

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America in 3.5 Seconds

This Nation was born when a band of men, the Founding Fathers, a group so unique we’ve never seen their like since, rose to such selfless heights. Lawyers, tradesmen, merchants, farmers — 56 men achieved security and standing in life but valued freedom more.

They gave us more than a nation. They brought to all mankind for the first time the concept that man was born free, that each of us has inalienable rights, ours by the grace of God, and that government was created by us for our convenience, having only the powers that we choose to give it.

This experiment in man’s relation to man is a few years into its third century. Saying that may make it sound quite old. But let’s look at it from another viewpoint or perspective. A few years ago, someone figured out that if you could condense the entire history of life on Earth into a motion picture that would run for 24 hours a day, 365 days — this idea that is the United States wouldn’t appear on the screen until three and one-half seconds before midnight on December 31st. And in those three and one-half seconds not only would a new concept of society come into being, a golden hope for all mankind, but more than half the activity, economic activity in world history, would take place on this continent. Free to express their genius, individual Americans, men and women, in three and one-half seconds, would perform such miracles of invention, construction, and production as the world had never seen.

From a speech by Ronald Reagan in 1981 (near the 12 minute mark).

HT: Mark Perry