Nothing is certain except death and taxes.
At least, that’s what we’ve been told.
And it is, of course, a big fat lie. Well, half of it is.
One is certainly unavoidable. The other is avoidable… until you’re held at gunpoint and forced to give “society” your possessions if you refuse to pay. (By society we mean, of course, Uncle Sammy.)
We’ll let you puzzle out which is which.
Speaking of… let’s talk for a moment about taxes.
Taxes are designed to benefit society as a whole. At least, again, that’s what we’re told.
But do they, really?
Many believe, for example, that we can create wealth for the disadvantaged by taking from the rich.
It’s a romantic idea. It’s sexy. It’s a blockbuster in the theaters. And it gets many economic dolts riled up, hooping and hollering, waving their fists with unabandoned glee.
With just a single vote to a politician, you too can become a modern-day Robin Hood. Feel the air in your hair as you swoop in and steal from the greedy capitalists and flood the shanty towns with free money.
Snapping back to reality for a moment, we hit a brick wall. It doesn’t work.
Today, we’ll talk about only one of the reasons redistribution doesn’t work: Which is that theft (i.e. taxation) is not a sustainable form of wealth creation. And it doesn’t solve the problem it attempts to fix. In fact, theft doesn’t create wealth at all. It only destroys it. And it incentivizes humans to depend on further theft and, therefore, stagnation and zombification of present and future wealth.
When it comes to redistributing wealth, you see, wealth becomes a shriveling, and fixed, pie.
But, contrary to popular thought, that’s not wealth’s natural state.
When it comes to creating wealth, it is anything but a fixed pie. In the state of wealth creation, wealth is an evolving, expanding, transmogrifier that could, if we let it, extend its reach upon all citizens on Earth and create amazing, incredible, and unbelievable things.
The power of wealth to transmogrify things
The problem is, many people get wealth and money confused…
Wealth is not money. Money is only a gauge of how much of available wealth each individual has access to. In a healthy economy, money is a servant to wealth. Unfortunately, we’re not basking in the warm light of a healthy economy. Which is why many are confused of the difference.
Wealth is something quite different than money.
Wealth is measured by your ability to survive and enjoy life independent of others. Wealth holds true value in fulfilling our needs and wants.The truly wealthy man or woman is self-sufficient and lives life on his or her own terms.
The non wealthy counts his or her pennies and lives life dependent on others. And… here comes a shocker… the non wealthy will not become wealthy (self-sufficient and independent) if he or she is dependent upon the wealthy to keep creating wealth.
He or she will become wealthy through the process of creating wealth — and/or helping to create wealth — for his or her fellow beings.
But fear not… all hope is not lost.
Wealth, we are reminded, has increased all across the world over the past century — and for many of the world’s poor. We have access to more information, goods and services than all of our predecessors combined. Even the most glamorous royals of the past couldn’t imagine having many of the things our poorest in America take for granted.
And we came about this wealth not from a sudden influx of natural resources or of money. The resources and money have always been there. Instead, we created this wealth through human ingenuity, creativity, and hard work.
Let’s take, for example, the ol’ “black gold”…
Oil, as Dr. Mary Ruwart points out in her book Healing Our World, was once considered an undesirable nuisance that ruined good farmland. Farmers would go out of their way not to buy farmland with oil flowing underneath its soil.
Little did they know, they were missing out on trillions of dollars of wealth.
It wasn’t until a few smart cookies discovered that it could be used to benefit humanity, did we begin to use it to create wealth. Through oil, a few enterprising men created untold wealth for humanity and became fantastically rich. Moreover, they didn’t have to steal a single penny out of anyone’s pockets to create their wealth.
Wealth, therefore, is determined by the way we use existing resources. And our resources can be leveraged to benefit humanity in ways we haven’t dreamed up yet…
Since creativity and human ingenuity is virtually limitless, says Dr. Ruwart, the same can be said for wealth…
Coal, oil, and natural gas give us an unprecedented amount of power. We transmit this power over electrical wires and send communications via satellite. The antibiotics produced by fungi have been harnessed to fight infectious bacteria that invade our bodies. We stimulate our immune system with vaccines so that the ancient plagues have all but vanished. Artificial wings fly us all over the globe.
Mass production, assembly lines, and robotics help to replicate the wealth-creating ideas. The new wealth allows creation of still greater wealth. For example, the energy trapped in fossil fuels lets us create new metal alloys that require higher smelting temperatures than wood can provide. One idea leads to the next.
We see that specific ideas on better uses for existing resources and the replication of these ideas are the real source of wealth. Natural resources are like seeds that grow into wealth when they are nurtured and developed by individuals acting alone or in concert.
But many will argue this mindset — that of capitalizing on Earth’s natural resources to create wealth — will be the end of our species. And that we must regulate, regulate, regulate, and redistribute in order to be sustainable.
We disagree. We believe, as you’ll see why in a moment, that regulation and redistribution will only make things worse. More than anything, we need government to get out of the way.
As long as we allow human ingenuity to thrive, it will win out. Humans will adapt. Because that’s what we do and have done for millennia. The limitations of our wealth is only capped by the illusory glass ceiling of our imaginations.
Ruwart goes on…
When we consider that resources will one day be mined from planets other than the Earth, that matter and energy are totally interchangeable, and that basic chemical elements can be transmuted, we realize that resource seeds are so abundant that they do not impose practical limitations on the creation of wealth at all. Even if our fossil fuels should be foolishly exhausted, for example, energy is abundantly available in each and every atom if only we knew as we one day will how to tap it safely.
Even if we foolishly devastated our home world by unsound environmental management, a universe of other planets are available to us when we learn as we one day will how to reach them. Human resources, our “how to” ideas, and the replication of those ideas, determine how much available wealth there is at any one time.
Since human creativity appears unbounded, the amount of wealth possible is virtually infinite! Truly we live in a “no limit” world!
What’s holding us back from a “no limit” world, you ask? The lack of laissez faire, of course.
We’ll get into why that is in tomorrow’s episode.
As a hint of what we’ll cover tomorrow, we leave you with a quote from another book we’ve been leafing through called A Gift of Love. It’s a vault of wisdom (a timely one at that) from the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“The hope of a secure and livable world,” he said, “lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.
“The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!”