Want a Financial Crisis? Impose ‘Fairness’
I believed the spectacular failure of forced equality in the USSR would serve as a repellent for the rest of the world. I was wrong.
October 15, 2009 - 12:05 am
They might be even more surprised to learn that the “evil” corporations are their best allies, both politically and culturally, being some of the biggest champions of state-regulated entitlement programs and labor wage hikes, thus making the $4 coffee at Starbucks affordable to the masses. Proponents of forced economic equality like to explain corporate support of government entitlements as evidence that such programs are actually good for business — otherwise why would these “mega-monsters of predatory capitalism” encourage entitlements?
But the truth is much more cynical: anti-market measures give big companies an unfair advantage over smaller competitors and upstarts who can’t afford to have a lobbyist in Washington and who will choke on higher wages, taxes, and entitlements, while large corporations can swallow the extra cost more easily, as economies of scale allow a smaller price increase on their products.
Corporations are neither demons nor angels; they are merely playing by the rules given to them by the government, which keeps “correcting” the action to make it more “fair” by inventing new rules and tampering with the score in the middle of the game. The rules may be always changing, but the goal does not. And the primary goal of any business organization is profit. So the players must keep adapting to the changing field conditions in order to benefit the shareholders. And if trying to make the best of a rigged game is turning them into monsters, the fault is not so much with the players as with those who have corrupted the game by fixing it.
So the next time a proponent of “fairness” gripes about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, we should agree wholeheartedly — adding that the reasons for the shrinking middle class and the stagnant economy are government regulations born of the dream of forced economic equality, which in real life results in a rigged game, arrested upward mobility, and a more rigid class structure.
The same argument applies to the champions of forced global equality. Since the productivity of labor cannot be redistributed globally, the only option within their reach is a global redistribution of wages, which they see as a variable they know how to control and some have made careers out of it. Instead of leveling the playing field by reducing the government dictate and by promoting liberty, opportunity, and property rights in developing nations — which is the only fair, realistic, and moral solution to poverty and stagnation — the collectivists are now proposing the imposition of a global minimum wage.
This is as practical as legislating a greater rainfall in the Sahara Desert, or establishing international quotas on floods, pestilence, and volcano eruptions. The only thing that is certain to start growing as a result of this measure will be the power of the coming global government, whose first major task will be to tackle a self-inflicted global crisis.
Coming soon: “The Fallacy of ‘Economic Equality’”