Colonel Hugh Pickering: Have you NO morals, man?
Alfred P. Doolittle: Nah. Nah, can’t afford ’em, guv’nor. Neither could you, if you was as poor as me.
From My Fair Lady, 1964
Why Socialism Causes Scarcity
If you want to hobble an economy, then make not working hard pay just as well as working hard. Make sure all the wealth is shared equally among all members of the economy, no matter how hard each member works. The Marxist platitude that illustrates this concept is as follows: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. With the high degree of scarcity this policy will potentially create, it is actually the height of immorality.
When you get serious in implementing this philosophy, you will get less effort on the whole, and the economy will contract. This is because you have gone from an individual-responsibility, incentive-based work ethic to a shared-liability, entitlement-based share ethic. Scarcity of financial and material resources will result.
Why Freedom Causes Abundance
If you tell people, however, that the more work they do, the more money they are free to earn, you will find that more people will work harder and will take fewer sick days. Productivity will go up, and business will become more profitable.
This creates abundance, because now there is an economic incentive to work harder. Thus, more work is done, business is more productive and profitable, and this causes enough capital to be amassed that the business owner can sooner hire more workers and increase the wages of the most productive workers, in order to retain their services. Eventually, more branch businesses can open, causing more economic expansion and the opportunity for additional high-paying management jobs to be created.
More people can get off of government relief and gain more freedom and more ability to achieve upward economic mobility. Upwardly mobile people are empowered to use money in powerful ways: 1) setting aside savings for an emergency, 2) investing money for retirement, and 3) donating funds to charity. All these activities increase freedom for people and decrease reliance on the state.
Even if you just save money in the bank, that money is still being spent by the bank: 1) in the form of making more investments, 2) in the form of giving more loans, and 3) in the form of donating more funds to local charities, schools, and job-training programs. This all spurs economic expansion and offers the kind of help that businesses and individuals need to take advantage of the growing economy.
Encouraging Middle-Class Morality
When people begin to earn more money, they can also afford to make more moral choices. Poor people feel compelled to take part in shady dealings or outright dishonesty from time to time to make their ends meet. For many, survival must trump morality. But once you have attained the proper economic means, then—like Alfred P. Doolittle of the popular musical My Fair Lady—middle-class respectability must be heeded.
It is a fact that middle- and upper-class citizens break the law less often. But this is only a natural outgrowth of the fact that more material well-being means that there is less need to run afoul of the law. If you can earn an income as a teacher, why would you risk selling drugs for money instead? There are few who would do so. Thus, economic expansion ultimately brings about more opportunity to participate in a world that is encouraging of moral choices. Once survival needs have been taken care of, middle-class morality becomes increasingly preferred as a code of behavior.
The Truth About Income Disparity
The truth is that people who work harder and study more earn will more money, on average, than people who work less hard and choose not to study. Income disparity is, thus, a natural outgrowth of the differences human beings choose to express in their behavioral choices.
If you work harder, and thus earn more than your more idle counterpart, you will have more wealth at your disposal to invest or to start your own business with. Exercising either of these options is liable to increase the income disparity between you and someone who is more leisure-loving to an even greater extent than before. Alas! The rich get richer!
The expansion of material wealth that comes about from those who continue to add to the wealth disparity cause more money to flow into banks, increasing the money available for loans or investment. This fuels the continued expansion of freedom and morality.
We Could Choose to Be Like Haiti
An immoral government, that aggressively takes money from the productive in order to “share the wealth” with the unproductive, will eventually destroy the country, by driving all incentive to create wealth out of existence. Productive people who wish to remain productive will choose to produce elsewhere, where less of their wealth is redistributed.
The United States could easily be made to look like Haiti. Just get rid of those rich people you do not like, and presto! Everyone is equal—or, at least, equally poor. Statist attempts to redistribute the wealth only accomplish a redistribution of misery and almost a total lack of wealth altogether, in the end.
Freedom & Abundance: the Path to Morality
For those who believe we have important moral obligations to attend to, my question is this: How can we care for these obligations, if there is barely enough wealth in the country to afford to care for basic human needs?
If we become like Haiti, will people be economically free enough to care for these priorities? And if people can barely care for themselves, how can they pay enough in taxes to spend on such things as defense, education, or the environment? This would be, to borrow the words of Chief Seattle, “the end of life, and the beginning of survival.”
So let us reject the example of Haiti. Instead, let us choose the path of freedom, abundance, and morality. A good moral compass saves more lives than any other single factor within our society. Thus, in embracing freedom and abundance without equivocation, we also choose life!