Monday, January 28, 2013

Myth of the Makers (Part 2)

In this series we are examining the libertarian economic myth that a small number of people are makers and that the rest of the society are takers. It attempts to show that this world view is false and works against society, not for it.

In Part 2 we examine the first few assumptions and counter arguments in more detail.

U.S. Wealth distribution.
Makers Create Wealth

There are three definitions of wealth: Things that make people better off, the value of things, and the total assets of individuals.

Not all wealth is about money. Wealth is also about life, liberty and happiness. Those who focus only on money as a definition of wealth are limiting the value that human beings have to an arbitrary counting system for their own benefit.

Billion dollar mansion
under construction.
The land a farmer hands on to his children is his wealth, not just the crops he takes from the land. The care a mother gives her children is her wealth, not just the money she spends on them. The labor we give to those challenged by natural disaster is often more about just showing up and lending a hand. Wealth is more than money.

The majority of the wealth in a society is not created by the individuals who control it.  Rather it is inherited.  Huge fortunes made in one generation are handed down from father to son creating an oligarchy of power.  The descendants of wealth benefit from the labor of others without providing in return.  Wealth is concentrated by family more than effort.

Obligation to give back.
Makers Act Alone

No maker became a maker without society. Without their parents Makers would not have been given the basic food, shelter, and clothing necessary to grow up. Without schools provided by the local society they would not have had the chance to be educated enough to become Makers. Without national society Makers would not be safe from enemies. Makers could not exist without the society they come from. Makers have an obligation to that society to return what has been given them.

Making is a team effort.
Most things that are made require many hands of effort in order for the thing to be made. No one Maker designs and builds the radio in your car. No one Maker plants, grows, transports, and sells his food unless they are in a small limited, local market. No one Maker builds their own factory by hand and runs it by themselves. Makers live in an interconnected society. To separate themselves from the society is to act against the society which created them.

Garage inventions
Few People Are Makers

Actually most people are makers to one degree or another. My mom was a maker of meals and households. My Dad made torpedo targets. My wife makes documents so people can learn to use tools made by others. My friend makes clean bathrooms and floors so we remain healthy and feel good about our environment. Each of these people make more than these things. All responsible people make things through effort of labor. Sometimes they are rewarded by money. Sometimes they are rewarded by love, or happiness, or life, or liberty. Almost everyone is a maker of some kind.

Makers Always Benefit Society.

Destruction of the commons.
Many people make things for bad ends, even on purpose. The strip club owner employees girls who may not make money otherwise, but drags down the potential of all the other daughters. The Heroin dealer makes money distributing a product that does evil. Cigarette makers do far more damage than good for society. It is difficult to find an argument why Swastika makers help people. Some makers can hinder society.

Lungs after cigarettes.
Most makers do have a positive good result in what they make. The products and services of many makers have negative side effects that can sometimes over weigh the good that they do. Even those without bad intent can do damage though. When the focus of the maker is on making money and not making good, makers can do great evil.

Next Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

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