Obscene Wealth – Myths About Capitalism

Recently I tweeted a quote from John Stossel (who was quoting Michael Medved):

"If you believe that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, then you believe that creating wealth causes poverty, and you're an idiot"

This is the old zero-sum fallacy, which ignores that when two people engage in free exchange, both gain -- or they wouldn't have traded. That’s the way business works.

I received a number of responses to that tweet, mostly espousing the leftist concept that Capitalism is bad and somehow that the concept of getting wealthy is “obscene” and it seems to occur “at the expense of others”.

When does wealth (or the creation of wealth) become "obscene"? Is there some measuring stick we can hold against it with a red line on it that says "Obscenity Level"? Or is it just somebody's subjective, biased jugement?

Other responses seemed to focus on the "deductive argument" logic of the statement, completely ignoring the point (and further indicating the difficulty some people seem to have with this concept)

One only needs to look at the recent recession to see the corollary that when the rich get poorer, the poor certainly don’t get richer.

Then there are those who claim, for example, that Walmart comes in and wipes out local grocers and other businesses. Obscene Wealth? Maybe, but they also bring new jobs to the community. That’s capitalism. If you try to regulate this kind of thing, you don’t make any improvements. All you do is create more Socialism and Collectivism – the hallmarks of the current Obama Adminstration. More regulation, more big government programs and agencies, and printing five times more money in one year than predecessor Bush did in two terms of office. Not that Bush was any angel- he almost singlehandedly dismantled Reaganomics, virtually assuring an economic collapse of one sort or another.

The bottom line is, this is one of the biggest lies -- the idea that because of capitalism, we're all suffering. Poor people in America today -- people who are officially in poverty -- have a higher standard of living in terms of medical standards, the chances of going to college, the way people live -- than middle-class people did 30 years ago. It's an extraordinary achievement of technology and of the profit sector, and it comes from the creation of wealth by hard - working entrepreneurs.

Here’s the thing: Capitalism works. It’s worked just fine in the US of A for over 250 years. If it ain’t broke, then don’t try to fix it.