John Tamny – April 26, 2019
“Fortunes cannot grow; someone has to increase them. For this the successful activity of an entrepreneur is needed. The capital reproduces itself, bears fruit and increases only so long as successful and lucky investment endures.” – Ludwig von Mises, Socialism, p. 340
In a recent edition of the New York Times, it was reported that there were 1.7 million cancer diagnoses last year. Imagine for a moment the agony that followed the doctor visits during which the bad news was relayed, the subsequent sleepless nights for those diagnosed along with their family members, not to mention the life-altering cruelty of death itself.
And while all of the above doesn’t come close to articulating the trauma associated with a cancer diagnosis, along with what ensues, it’s a useful way to pose a basic question: assuming someone of remarkable mind were to divine a cure for cancer, would anyone reading this opinion piece blanch at such an advance? The question is rhetorical. No sane person would look askance at that which would spare so many so much emotional and physical agony.
Ok, but what if the genius behind the cure for the modern “Captain of Men’s Death” (the phrase once used to describe pneumonia) were set to become a billionaire many times over for his advance. Would anyone look askance? The question is yet again rhetorical.
All of this came to mind while reading investor extraordinaire Ray Dalio’s (a billionaire many, many times over) recent comments about inequality. To believe this most talented of individuals, “widening income/wealth/opportunity gaps” supposedly “pose existential threats to the United States.” We truly live in an alarmist age.
Such a comment is not worthy of Dalio’s certain genius. Implicit in what’s overdone is that countries known for economic equality are greater magnets for the world’s desperate than is the United States. Except that they’re not. Dalio expresses a belief in markets and capitalism, yet easily the purest market signal of all is where the poor and striving go in order to erase their poverty. Where there’s extraordinary wealth, there’s immense opportunity.
That the world’s tired and hungry have for over 200 years been risking it all (including their lives) in order to get to the United States exists as a rather inconvenient truth for Dalio.
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