Greed is Good: The Pursuit of Self-Interest Benefits Everyone

0 Posted by - October 25, 2012 - Career & Business, Economics, Money, Nanny State

 Greed is Good: The Pursuit of Self Interest Benefits EveryoneOn TV, my Fox colleague Bill O’Reilly says, “The recession was brought on largely by greedy Wall Street corporations.”

Give me a break.

Bill’s smart. If he believes such things, we who care about freedom have done a poor job communicating economics.

Blaming problems on “greed” is a mindless cliche.

Yes, Wall Street was greedy — but that’s nothing new. Greed is a constant. Did you ever turn down a raise? We need a free market because it restrains greed. Laws against theft and fraud help, but competition does more. With this election approaching, and statist, eager-to-regulate candidates in ascent, we need more Americans to understand this.

The statist left says it’s government’s job to protect consumers and help poor people. But greed — more precisely, the pursuit of self-interest in the free market — would work better. The market (if not corrupted by corporate welfare and bailouts) harmonizes the interests of diverse people who don’t even know each other and might not even like each other. It motivates them to work hard to serve customers.

When markets are free (alas, ours is not; in America today, too often people “partner” with politicians and get rich through government), those who charge too much, or skimp on quality or service, lose money to competitors who serve people better.

What could be more humane? Nothing has done more than markets to lift people out of the mud and misery of primitive life.

But progressive blogger Sally Kohn argues: “We all have a little greed in us. The question is, what values do we hold alongside greed as a society … so that we operate for the better good of everyone?”

CONTINUED at Reason. Written by John Stossel.

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