You can hardly believe how ignorant some people are

 
And dangerous too. Endless ignorance from The Washington Post: Five myths about capitalism.

  1. Greed, a natural human instinct, makes markets work.
  2. Corporations must be run to maximize value for shareholders.
  3. Workers’ pay is an objective measure of economic contribution.
  4. Equality of opportunity is all people need to climb the economic ladder.
  5. Making the economy fairer will make it smaller and less prosperous.

And what makes the list particularly absurd is the implicit assumption that anyone anywhere believes these are true, that anyone believes any of these are true.

The author is, Steven Pearlstein, ‘a Washington Post economics columnist and the Robinson professor of public affairs at George Mason University, is the author of “Can American Capitalism Survive?”’ And to answer his question, if that is the kind of advice we are getting, the answer is NO, not a chance. Venezuela here we come.

How about these five rules instead.

  1. Personal freedom and self interest, natural human instincts, make markets work.
  2. Every business if it is to survive must have enough revenue to cover all of its costs.
  3. Workers’ pay is related to the productivity of the economy.
  4. Equality is not an economic principle but you will get more of it in an open competitive economy than anywhere else.
  5. Expanding the economy and making it more productive will also make it fairer.
This entry was posted in Economics and economy, Economics on the left. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to You can hardly believe how ignorant some people are

  1. Sunni Bakchat

    Not endless ignorance but “Compound Ignorance”.

    These people don’t even know that they don’t know.

  2. 2dogs

    Workers’ pay is an objective measure of economic contribution.

    Those who value equality should be thankful that this is not the case – because contrary to their beliefs, the free market does have a mechanism for equality, and it works through this.

    The natural distribution of productivity is a Pareto distribution, but the free market actually achieves a fairer distribution than that. This is because a percentage of a worker’s productivity goes towards the costs of providing them the opportunity to do productive work – such as providing them with work tools, customers for their output, etc.

    Now workers on the high end of the Pareto distribution end up paying a larger percentage of their output for opportunity provision. As a result incomes end up being a lot more equal than productivity.

    It should be noted this effect might not be very strong due population growth, which increases competition among opportunity providers reducing their ability to take a large cut. This is easily seen in the empirical evidence, do a regression of the world’s nations population growth against GINI coefficient and a clear positive correlation emerges. The good news there is that the world’s declining population growth will create greater equality in future.

  3. Tom

    … what makes the list particularly absurd is the implicit assumption that anyone anywhere believes these are true …

    The bedrock of leftist ideology is an inability or refusal to reason rationally and a wilful ignorance of history — in fact, an insistence that history never happened. Leftist theoreticians love going where
    no-one has gone before as pioneers of human idiocy.

    However, while it’s tempting to think the author, Steve Pearlstein, is the stupidest human every born, there’s an virtually endless supply at the left’s disinformation factories like the Washington Post.

  4. So what actually made America such a powerhouse? Socialism?

  5. egg_

    Personal freedom and self interest, natural human instincts, make markets work.

    What about when Gummint distorts the market with punitive taxes, viz the current Electricity market, taxing alcohol and cigarettes (now a huge black market?) and now a proposed sugar tax FFS.

  6. Ellen of Tasmania

    If you could press a button that would immediately make all the poor people in the world 10 times richer, would you press it? Note: It will also make the rich people 20 times richer. Now, will you press it?

    Socialists wouldn’t.

  7. If you could press a button that would immediately send all Socialists in the world to an alternate universe, would you press it?

    In a heartbeat.

  8. Entropy

    They would rather the poor stay poor than the rich get richer.

  9. Sunni Bakchat

    Another aspect of Socialism is the fact Envy, being one of the Seven Deadly Sins, makes the envier feel far worse than the envied. For the envier, it becomes the goal to even the score. Hence the socialist is born. From there it is an easy path to Sloth and the sin du jour, Wrath.

  10. Iampeter

    Steve, this is hard to read at The Cat and from the likes of you. At the Cat we have:
    – Capitalist professor who support regulating immigration and trade
    – Capitalist professor who supports tariffs
    – Headline posters who think capitalism is cold and uncaring
    – Who also think that you need some socialism because it’s like families and we couldn’t have roads otherwise
    – Commenters who frequently make textbook socialist arguments but think they are not socialists for some reason
    – Overwhelming support for a fairness doctrine in tech companies because this fights censorship
    And other things you’d expect to see at an Onion parody of right wing content.
    At least the Washington Post doesn’t identify itself as “a leading libertarian and center-right paper”, so while they might indeed be ignorant, they are nowhere near as ignorant as some others.

  11. mh

    At least the Washington Post doesn’t identify itself as “a leading libertarian and center-right paper”,

    It doesn’t identify itself as a front for Jeff Bezos, either.

  12. mh

    LEAKED EMAILS: Senior Google Search Engineer Advocates for Censorship of ‘Terrorist’ Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

    https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/10/01/exclusive-senior-google-search-engineer-called-marsha-blackburn-terrorist-thug/

  13. Mother Lode

    I think the movie Wall Street contributed to the idea that capitalism is all about greed.

    “Greed is good”. A lot of people thought this was capitalist attitude to capitalism. It is in fact what socialists want to say capitalists say about capitalism. Why aren’t the constant clamourings for more money for wukkaz not greed?

    Most businesses are small businesses, but socialists always want to talk about major corporations because there are so many stereotypes they can play to.

    If people focused on small businesses, people who work to provide for their families, for their future, for their quality of life.

    Socialists seem to think the proper motivation for economic activity is some altruistic but shared devotion to the state – or rather to fellow citizens which, being an abstraction due to the fact you can only know a vanishingly small proportion of citizens and generally similar to yourself – fellow citizens as embodied in the state.

    I suspect there is, after revolutions, a certain euphoria, optimism, hope – all the stuff that isn’t ultimately going to be delivered.

    So then the dynamic is reversed and it is the abstracted citizenry that is the state, that demands, that coerces, that punishes for failure, and eventually leads you down to a bare windowless room with a single lightbulb and a drain in the middle of the floor.

  14. .

    The Washington Post is pushing full-blown Marxism. Almost unbelievable, until you realise it is present year.

    We can say authoritatively that a brain surgeon has more value to society than a bloke who pulls beers in Newtown.

    If you really want to skewer communism, you just tell the doctor’s and engineers unions that their pay should be that of a lowly bank teller or school janitor.

  15. Boambee John

    Sunni at 0800

    For the envier, it becomes the goal to even the score. Hence the socialist is born.

    Socialism is built on a mix of hate and envy.

    Used to include a lot of lust, but that is non-PC now, the new Puritanism is all the go, at least in public.

  16. Pauly

    Steve,
    I think a better alternate for 5 is
    5. Fairness (i.e. disinterested rule of law and rejection of cronyism) will lead to an increase in the evonomy.

  17. Mike

    The statements you reference from the Washington Post are the “Five Myths” described in the column in the Sunday Outlook section. In other words, Steven Pearlstein’s responses to each of those myths actually knocks them down, not supports them. As Emily Litella would say, “Oh, never mind!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.