Thursday, February 18, 2010
"Putting Life Ahead of Profits"
An apparently enlightened organization, Global MindShift, in response to Change.org's 2010 invitation to enter their Ideas for Change in America competition, submitted an idea titled: "A campaign to put Life ahead of profits." And although I like their philosophy of "All is One" and "Love is the Action," I just had to object:
Sorry to have to demur. Life and profits are interdependent, not mutually exclusive. Profits is what we earn by investing our time and effort, whether by renting them to an employer or creating our own enterprises.
Other than by force or fraud, the ONLY way to earn profits is by producing or providing what other people want and need--by delivering a value they are willing to pay for. In brief, by mutual exchange of values. "Find a need and fill it" is the recipe for creating goods, creating jobs, creating profits. It started tens of thousands of years ago when mankind discovered the division of labor, or diversification of functions.
Profits are a company's wages. Surely you don't mean to say that workers should not be paid for their labor because that would constitute a profit for the workers? If a company is begrudged its earnings, where do you think the money will come from to pay the employees? Where will the money come from to invest in new enterprises that create new jobs and keep the economy healthy?
Groups that pride themselves on being "non-profit" still need money to operate. Where does that come from? Voluntary contributions. Where do people get the money to donate to their favorite causes? They first have to earn it by creating something of real value. And if government gives grants and subsidies, where does it get the money? From taxing the working people.
"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." (TANSTAAFL)
Please do not confuse profits with exploitation. The only agency that has the power to exploit people without their consent is the government. And when government teams up with corporate entities to make rules that limit the freedom of some to play favorites with others, the freedom of all is imperiled. When government steps between employers and employees, dictating terms such as minimum wage and mandatory benefits (entitlements), government fosters grotesquely distorted economic relations and eventual meltdown, as we are seeing now.
As there is a Constitutional separation of church and state, and there should be a separation of school and state, so should there be a separation of business and state. Any other course deprives people of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, among other freedoms.
Forcing people (through taxation) to give up their substance, their earnings, so government can use the money to advance social engineering projects, is not putting people first. Perhaps being good, kind, benevolent and helpful to others is a noble idea, but socialism is not the road to that ideal. It is through individual enterprise, initiative, creativeness, and the freedom to act on it that members of a society can offer value to other members, including opportunities for new jobs that improve everyone's lives. Their profits are well earned. Profits make Life possible.
If you'd like to support Life, take government out of business and out of our pockets.