There is a principle I discussed with a Christian friend of mine who was lamenting the "greed" of a specific employer, who did not contribute to charity, who did not seek to do good in the world, who only sought to make money and scrimp on every expense. The greed, however, from my point of view, was on his part. It was this other man's money that he had plans to divide and with which to do good. He wanted to do his good with someone else's money. (of course the parallels to government cannot be missed here, but that is not my point)
After listening to my friend for a period of time, I realized it was time to point out a few facts that he had obviously not taken into account. Here is the point I related to him. It doesn't matter if the employer wants to do good, or not. It is not his choice. It is his choice to do evil, but not good. There are dynamics at play in the economy that cannot be denied. In my mind, capitalism is the very hand of God being revealed to all who would pay attention and follow the bouncing balls.
It is literally impossible for a person to amass a fortune and not do good with the money he has accumulated. Yes, there are those like Bernie Madoff who stole millions from the unsuspecting and blew it on who knows what, but he is the exception and that is why he is in prison. Theft by deception is not the sort of wealth creation I am talking about, it is the old-fashioned, build-something sort of wealth creation I am describing.
The first thing any enterprising person must do in order to accumulate wealth is to start something, take a risk, put some of his own hard-earned money down and begin something. Once he does that he contributes to the tax roles, helping the city, county and state maintain the roads and buildings and administration that we use every day. He can try, but vehicle taxes and fuel taxes and sales taxes are paid along the way. I'm sure the greedy capitalist doesn't want to pay for these things, but he recognizes that to stay in business they need to be taken care of. While I might agree that it doesn't always have to be taxes that provide these things, the general agreement among the less strident libertarian is that government is the appropriate place to secure roads, buildings and administration.
The second thing the greedy capitalist must do is hire the services of other businesses, rent space, have the printing done, hire a CPA and a lawyer to get the ball rolling. Inventory, and/or advertising must be purchased in order to let others know of the business and to stock the shelves with something to sell. All of these things enhance the profits of any number of other businesses or manufacturers.
The third thing the greedy capitalist must do, if his business is successful, is hire someone to handle the less-important, but necessary duties like drafting letters, sweeping the shop, invoicing, etc. This person didn't have a job a week before and now is able to contribute to society which reverses the flow of cash to this person through unemployment benefits, welfare, etc and turns it around to where that person is contributing to those funds from which they had recently been drawing. The newly hired is also thinking about the things that should be purchased in the future.
So, as it goes along, here is what we come up with from the greedy capitalist: 1) his investment in his business all with the purpose of amassing a fortune unto himself helped to pay for the roads, buildings and administration of the government; 2) it helped to grow other businesses and to make the owners and manufacturers more wealthy and perhaps have to hire one or two more people; 3) he hired numerous people over the years as he grew rich.
The crucial question often unasked is what did those who benefited from his company either through taxes, or sales, or employment do with those funds? You know what they did? They started a homeless shelter; they contributed to churches and charities; they bought things that supported other businesses and increased employment. Their goodness is not undone by his stinginess. Their charity is not fraudulent because it started from a person who did not support it. Their success is not diminished by his.
No, I would suggest to anyone reading this post that it was the government that took the greedy capitalist's money with the premise of "doing good" who wasted it on bloated bureaucracies and duplicated efforts and payoffs to political supporters who more closely resemble Bernie Madoff.
Graciously linked at Arctic Patriot.
Graciously linked and quoted at Green Mountains Homesteading.
Graciously linked at Doug Ross.