Monday, February 27, 2006

File this under 'impressive'

I just read this excellent letter to the editor in the Bismarck Tribune from Adam Twardowski to an op-ed that claimed that one needs money first before one can overcome poverty.

Please note, according to the paper, Twardowski is a middle school student.

This is in response to Jim Lein’s Feb. 20 column, "Helping the rich accumulate wealth."

Lein writes that "some degree of wealth is required to overcome poverty” but that “the dispute is over who should receive this degree of wealth — the poor or the already wealthy."

Lein, like so many others, fails to understand that wealth is not a static entity that exists in a fixed amount in the world. Production, which Ayn Rand defined as "the application of reason to the problem of survival," is the means by which wealth is created. Businessmen such as John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and others possessed an extraordinary virtue: the ability to create wealth on an unprecedented scale.

Before it can be redistributed, wealth must be created. For that reason, it is the producers of wealth, not the dispensers of charity, who should be morally praised for advancing the human standard of living.

America did not become rich by the selfless giving of charity workers or the incessant taxation of the Internal Revenue Service, but by the profoundly selfish work of businessmen who, while pursuing their own profit, created jobs, raised salaries, reduced the working day and produced cheap and useful products that have advanced the average person’s standard of living more than any other period of human history prior to the birth of capitalism in the 18th century was able to.

Why are business executives rich? The amount of thought, planning and coordination a brilliant CEO requires to operate a profitable company can be compared to the amount of training an athlete such as Michael Jordan needs to compete in sports or the amount of creativity a musician such as Mozart needs to compose an inspiring symphony. CEOs are indispensable components of their companies and, for that reason, deserve every penny of their incomes.

Because every individual has the right to property, the wealth produced by businessmen cannot be expropriated from them against their own will. If Lein wants to see the problem of poverty resolved, he should support the principle of laissez-faire, so that productive geniuses will be free to create extraordinary amounts of wealth while pursuing their own selfish interests.

Wow--that's an fine letter--a taut defense of the productive mind. Bravo Adam!

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