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Friday, June 19, 2015

Why Libertarians Should Oppose Billionaires

The Pope wants employers to provide jobs, not just automate processes with machines. Employers are already kicking against this goad, correctly pointing out that a job cannot be provided unless the company is making a profit. How do we square the circle, how do we resolve the problem the Pope describes?
128. We were created with a vocation to work. The goal should not be that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment. Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. (emphasis added) The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work. Yet the orientation of the economy has favoured a kind of technological progress in which the costs of production are reduced by laying off workers and replacing them with machines. This is yet another way in which we can end up working against ourselves. The loss of jobs also has a negative impact on the economy “through the progressive erosion of social capital: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence”.[104] In other words, “human costs always include economic costs, and economic dysfunctions always involve human costs”.[105] To stop investing in people, in order to gain greater short-term financial gain, is bad business for society.
First, we have to recognize that employers are correct. Jobs DO require profit.

But when 67 people own more wealth than 3.5 billion, don't you think there's just a bare possibility that at least those 67 people were not that interested in helping other people out by providing jobs? 

And, given how important work is to people, wouldn't it have been an act of generosity on their part to help other people out by giving them a chance to do something useful, instead of relying on government handouts?

Because here's the thing - the existence of billionaires requires the existence of the big government that economic conservatives always scream about. When the billionaires don't generously hand out jobs, the government has to generously hand out welfare checks. 

The government uses welfare payments in order to stop riots in the streets and the existence of a mob that would otherwise be bent on killing the people who are hoarding all the money. 

People need to eat.
People need self-respect.
Jobs provide both.

When the billionaires don't provide jobs, the government has to step in to at least provide food. Billionaires need big, well-armed government to keep the mobs off their backs. And those same billionaires have the top 50% of society pay the taxes necessary to build the big government that will protect the billionaires' hides.

That's the kind of social problem the Pope would like to avoid. 
He merely points out that it is in everyone's best interests to give the poor jobs, and suddenly he's anti-capitalist? Seriously? 

1 comment:

pel said...

Mr. Kellmeyer, what standard can be used to grade the efficient use of 67 uber-billionaire's use of their wealth to promote business and execute business in a way that provides upward occupational mobility?

Your analysis of the Holy Father's words seems to be making the point that reducing overall objective impoverishment is nice, but is of low priority if it is accompanied by a loss in healthy occupational opportunities. You have drawn a connection to this with the existence of the billionaires.

I'm having a hard time reconciling that with what I see in the United States, which has a disproportionate number of those billionaires and extremely low (or objectively, non-existent) levels of poverty.

Here in the states, we have an enormous implementation of automated processing and machinery. Yet, it appears to me that there is all manner of occupational mobility and gainful employment available to those who want it.

I'm having trouble seeing how the Holy Father's concerns apply to that particular society of billionaires in the context you have analyzed.