The Equal Division Of Nothing

“Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is – the strong horse that pulls the whole cart.”

Winston Churchill can be counted on to get to the gist of what is important.

I wonder how many appreciate what is in this quotation?

The cart is society. All of the people and all of their needs. All of their hopes, fears and expectations. Something or some system must address these in a way that results in people achieving their highest goals and greatest contributions, all the while finding ways to mitigate or avoid their fears.

The horse represents the resources required to address those needs.

Pretty simple, you have needs and you have resources to deal with them. As long as that works, no reason to change either personally or as a society.

The question is, if you don’t have the resources because you have killed off the “predatory tiger” or “milked” the resources away, how do you expect to provide for the needs of society?

Answer, you cannot meet the needs of society without resources and you cannot have resources without the producers.

For the past several decades people have become continually more focused on the distribution of resources than they have been on the creation of resources. That is a bad trade.

You cannot distribute what does not exist and you cannot wish new resources into existence. Regulation, taxation and unwise government spending has the illusion of fairness but at the risk of catastrophic failure.

What happens if, because of the burdens imposed, the resources shrink instead of grow?

The argument that the current private enterprise system does not work is not fully examined. I might agree that it does not work perfectly, but then, that hardly makes it unique. It certainly works better than any of the alternatives.

Government cannot create or produce resources. Governments consume resources. Sometimes for good but more commonly for mediocrity. Most government solutions cause as many problems as they cure.

Even government enterprises seem not to fulfill the goal of new resources to distribute. Lotteries for example create nothing. Only the pockets with the money change. Post Office or Fedex?

“Government enterprise” is an oxymoron. The things that make bureaucracies work are antithetical to the things that make businesses work. The hallmarks of governments – rule based, expansion of trivia, inadequate decision making and inability to change, will guarantee the failure of any business.

So, we cannot see governments as an answer to the resources question.

Killing free enterprise or depriving it of incentives to do the work and take the risks necessary for the resources to be available are premature options.

If there is no nearly certain method to replace free enterprise and the resources that we need, then the outcome can be dire for society.

You must have the resources. Notice how the justice arguments assume the resources will be there. If they are not there, what then?

If we believe the existence of resources is not a given and the growth of those is not a given, then perhaps it would be wiser to promote the things that make the resources more readily available.

The promotion of free enterprise is not happening any more and perhaps cannot happen any more. You might want to question whether it is safe to risk its failure.

If free enterprise fails, then what?

If resources go away, shrink or even fail to grow, the persons in society least capable of helping themselves will be harmed first and worst.

Those who believe that there is resource availability without incentive based free enterprise delude us all and are likely to refuse responsibility when the irreplaceable system ceases to operate. After all, they meant well.

Catch on to the idea that distribution is not as important as production. The idea of cutting up a large pile of nothing into equal pieces is not a winning idea. Not all possible “equal outcomes” are equally good.

More Churchill

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Enough for today, my blood pressure is getting too high.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. don.s@protectorsgroup.com

One Comment on “The Equal Division Of Nothing

  1. Pingback: What Am I Missing? | moneyFYI

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