the creation of wealth is edifying. When only voluntary transactions are permitted, the creation of wealth requires cooperation, and this brings out the best in us.Piles of wealth, however, tend to be corrupting. The fixed nature of a pile is all about apportionment, not cooperation, and this zero-sum game tends to bring out the worst in us.It follows directly that no matter how noble the ends, government redistribution (which is hardly voluntary) tends to bring out the worst in us. Rising government redistribution over the past 75 years has produced ample evidence of this point.We are in this mess because we have allowed our culture to be dominated by those who are bent on spreading the false and self-serving narrative that our economy is a giant zero-sum game.As such, we might as well have the government do the dividing.Small wonder why our politics have become increasingly about who you are for rather than what you are for.
This spectacular quote is from University of Missouri-St. Louis Professor of economics David C. Rose at the letters section of the Wall Street Journal (hat tip Prof Don Boudreaux)
Direct or indirect beneficiaries of government programs will staunchly defend on what they perceive as unalienable entitlements, even if such programs are economically unsustainable and immoral, to the point of bringing out the worst in us.
Such political apportionment programs are mainly channeled through inflationism (for instance participants in the financial markets as bankers, stock market participants, bond holders and etc…), welfarism (welfare beneficiaries), bureaucratic politics (political appointees via mandates, regulations, prohibitions), warfare state (defense contractors and related interests) and cronyism (politically distributed economic opportunities).
In defending the status quo, these politicized agents resort to more than just stridently deceptive denunciations on those who question them, but to the recourse of violence ala the unfolding events in Greece.
Politics does tend to bring out the worst in people.