Socialists and communists often times like to finger wag at the wealthy for the crime of being wealthy. They view the economy and capitalism as a zero sum game where, if someone succeeded in the market, someone else must have had to lose in order to grant this success to that wealthy person. This is a juvenile hallucination of what the free market is and is easy to refute. Simply put, individual economic actors value goods differently. The Misesian perspective is that individuals engage in purposeful behavior by applying the goods and resources in their control towards “easing perceived uneasiness.” The idea that capitalism is a zero sum game rests on the assumption of value not being bestowed onto goods and services by economic actors, but from some unexplained but measurable intrinsic economic value (in the case of Marx, the labor theory of value). But things only have value to people because people exist, live in scarcity, and desire something. This is the basis of action. Therefore, value in regards to scarce goods and resources is subjective to each individual and each individual’s subjective desires, wants, and needs.
As an example, the mechanic working on your car values your money more than his time. So he spends his time fixing your car in exchange for your money. You, the customer, value the mechanics skills and time more than your money so you pay him your cash in order to fix your car. It’s because of these unequal valuations on goods imputed onto those goods and services by you and the mechanic (economic actors) that a voluntary exchange between you and the mechanic can take place and have you both walk away from the exchange with a need or desire satisfied. These subjective valuations coupled with free and voluntary exchange and contract means that each individual’s selfish desire for profit is channeled into serving the needs of their fellow man. That does not sound like a zero sum game.
Since the concept of a zero sum game is thoroughly ridiculous, lets tackle this unjustified hatred of the wealthy the left has. Generally, the argument is that the wealthy get rich at the expense of those less fortunate than them (the zero sum game). They hate government bailing out the rich and supporting Wall Street through subsidies but they seem to make an arbitrary distinction between Wall Street getting welfare and your neighbor getting welfare. I didn’t catch this contradiction until I had this twitter exchange:
Let me clarify my last statement. As an Anarcho-Capitalist, I have issues with a company like Tesla whose business could not survive without government subsidies. I have an issue with Bank of America and other corporations that are nothing more than large welfare recipients. The difference between me and this person in the twitter exchange is that I dislike ANYONE on government welfare based on principle. Unlike this person, I know based on principle, that Bank of America getting a bail out is ethically just as bad as John Doe next door collecting unemployment or welfare checks. This leftist however, does not see it that way and by their own logic and arguments undo the very ground required for their arguments to stand. So if leftists, socialists, and communists want to complain about corporations getting rich through the political system (which I also find immoral, unethical, and inefficient), then they need to express the same outrage when John Doe picks up his welfare check. Of course they will never face this contradiction in their argumentation, but I’m more than happy to continue pointing it out to them.