Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where Would We Be?

"People before Profits"

Sounds nice enough. Who wouldn't want to put the idea of people before the idea of profits? Avarice is never in vogue. But do those that cry for such inhabit a false reality? With the president himself sympathetic both to this idea and to the "people" who've planted themselves in the middle of our centers of commerce, it is easy to be discouraged. Most of us would give anything to hear a few words of clarity in this din of nonsense. With that I say where would we be, where would we be, if it wasn't for folks like Walter E. Williams?

After pointing out the false choice in the aforementioned slogan, he comments on the inadequate grasp of economics in the mind of the common Wall Street Occupier:
When's the last time we've heard widespread complaints about our clothing stores, supermarkets, computer stores or appliance stores? We are far likelier to hear people complaining about services they receive from the post office, motor vehicle and police departments, boards of education and other government agencies. The fundamental difference between the areas of general satisfaction and dissatisfaction is the pursuit of profits is present in one and not the other.

The pursuit of profits forces producers to be attentive to the will of their customers, simply because the customer of, say, a supermarket can fire it on the spot by taking his business elsewhere. If a state motor vehicle department or post office provides unsatisfactory services, it's not so easy for dissatisfied customers to take action against it. If a private business had as many dissatisfied customers as our government schools have, it would have long ago been out of business.

Free market capitalism is unforgiving. Producers please customers, in a cost-minimizing fashion, and make a profit, or they face losses or go bankrupt. It's this market discipline that some businesses seek to avoid. That's why they descend upon Washington calling for crony capitalism -- government bailouts, subsidies and special privileges. They wish to reduce the power of consumers and stockholders, who hold little sympathy for blunders and will give them the ax on a moment's notice.
Consumers and stockholders - that would be you and me - the common people. The profit motive in the mind of the business person ends up empowering the very people the president and his 'friends' camped out in the middle of our cities claim they are for. And who then would be empowered if those profits are taken away? Why, the government that does the taking.

He's a no nonsense kind of guy. Read the whole thing here, and thank you professor Williams.

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