The following two PragerU videos made me realize that I have to expand on the points I made about the stupidity of socialists when it comes to money.
The first of the videos, What Creates Wealth, makes the simple point that knowledge is the main source of our wealth; the second, Why Private Investment Works & Govt. Investment Doesn’t, explains what it says in its title. While knowledge is undoubtedly the most important element and while incentives make a lot of difference, what I consider to be the most basic, the most generic function of money seems to be missing from any discussion of the subject I can find.
When answering the question “what is money?” most answers seem to stick to the mechanics, its types, its functions, its uses.
Some focus on what you can acquire with it, as in ‘money is power’, ‘money is freedom’, ‘money is happiness’, ‘money is security’; and many sees it in its negatives, as a tool of oppression, exploitation and enslavement.
But what does it mean when we say ‘money is power’? The most typical association is that money can buy power, which is just one manifestation of the things you can buy with money along with freedom, happiness and security. Money buy the things that may give us power, freedom, happiness, security and other such intangibles.
What I want you to consider is that the most important, the most basic, the most generic of those intangibles is the power to make decisions.
Money is a tool of decision making. Let that sink in. Every penny you are responsible for is connected to decisions you did, do or will make.
While in practice it matters a great deal, in theory, the amount is irrelevant.
The less money you have, the less power you have over your decisions, and if you are in debt, your power to make decisions is in negative territory as well.
The more money you have, the more power you have over the decisions impacting your life and the world around you. The more money you have, the higher the impact of your decisions may be.
When you have money, the most basic decisions you can make about it is whether to spend it, save it or invest it. When you decide to spend it, you do far more than just satisfying your personal needs.
Any time you spend your money, you are changing the world, nudging it in one direction or another. Whether you buy your coffee at Tim Hortons or Starbucks you are sending a signal to the market. $200 Nike or a $20 running shoe from Walmart, a trip to Bali or a vacation in the closest campground are decisions affecting the whole world around you. Probably even more than your carbon footprint. Saving your money is just another signal. Investing it is one of the strongest ones.
When you give a beggar a dollar, you transfer the power to decide what to do with that dollar.
When you give money to a charity, you decide which cause you consider worthy.
When you buy stocks in a company, your decision shapes the market.
Now ask yourself: how is this different from the way ‘the rich’ spend their money?
They have exactly the same choices as the rest of us (spend, save or invest), the only difference is the proportions. Since, just like you, they are spending their own money, they will consider their values and priorities carefully when making the decisions their money allows (and obliges) them to make.
Bill Gates is investing in forth generation nuclear energy and spends money on mosquito nets for the poor in Africa. Elon Musk is investing in all sorts of fascinating ideas, all of them trying to make our lives better, easier, more economical. Jeff Bezos spends his money on space travel.
George Soros is spending on buying political power. Either through direct support of politicians or through the financing his 200+ ‘grassroot’ / ’community’ organizations to create desired political outcomes.
None of the people mentioned here spend more than a few percent of their income on themselves. MOST of it is spent on shaping the world according to the vision they find desirable. Each of them is nudging the world in the direction of their liking. To make the world a better place; to creating things that people may need, want and are willing to spend money on; to help the rest of the world catch up with us; or in the case of Soros, to create a globalized socialist utopia run by people like himself (sociopaths with God complexes).
Their money is what enables them to decide how.
But all that decision-making power can be limited, controlled and taken away from any of us, rich or poor.
What political power can take away from you is not just money, but also the decision-making power that comes with it. If you get robbed, the money that is taken from you transfers the decision-making power into the hands of the robber. When you transfer 50% of your income in various taxes to politicians, what you are transferring is control over the decisions that money would have afforded to you. The decisions you relinquish to politicians and bureaucrats are some of the most important ones of your life. In the case of health-care, they may literally be about your life.
When the likes of Melissa McEwan, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attack the ‘millionaires and billionaires’, what they are after is the decision-making power represented by their wealth.
We could debate whether their ideas are based on ignorance and stupidity or greed and immorality, but it does not really matter. Even with the best of intentions, their decisions will inevitably include personal considerations.
They want to perpetuate their ability to make decisions about your life with your money. Not just now and in the future, but now about your future. Deficit spending is a set of decisions politicians make about the money that you will give to them in the future.
I suspect they understand perfectly well, that:
The most fundamental power of money is the power to make decisions.
I suspect they understand perfectly well that they can only create the world of their vision if they can usurp all decisions that money represents. From the ‘rich’ they have to take the business decisions, from the rest of us the decisions that control our own lives.
The question you have to ask yourself is who do you want to hold the power to make the decisions affecting our lives, the economy, the world. People who have already proven that they know how to serve our needs by creating things and services that make our lives better; or people who want to use it to increase their control over our lives? People who want us to have more choices or people who want to take those choices away from us?
Shouldn’t all that power stay in our own hands?