Should we worry that the people of China, India and other undeveloped countries are getting richer? Apparently so, according to the newspapers and the "experts" they quote. They don't come right out and say that global prosperity is bad for us. Instead they say, as The New York Times recently said, "As development rolls across once-destitute countries at a breakneck pace, lifting billions out of poverty, demand for food, metals and fuel is red-hot, and suppliers are struggling to meet it. Prices are spiraling, and Americans find themselves in what amounts to a bidding war with overseas buyers for products as diverse as milk and gasoline."
More of us would understand this if we learned what the great economics writer Henry Hazlitt preached in his classic book, "Economics in One Lesson": "The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy."
In the short run, richer Chinese and Indians bid up the prices of things. But that's just the beginning of the story. Increased demand and higher prices create opportunities for entrepreneurs....
Assuming government stays out of the way. Our current "leaders" are full of promises about "protecting" workers and industries, creating new "green" industries, and starting worker-retraining programs. For example, Hillary Clinton promises government support for "research (to) stimulate the development of new technologies and life-saving medicines." Mitt Romney wants "to initiate a bold, far-reaching research initiative -- an Energy Revolution, if you will. It will be our generation's equivalent of the Manhattan Project or the mission to the moon."
The media lap it up, apparently believing that no one will produce unless our wise leaders create an inducement. Nonsense.
The market would deliver the goods if government doesn't impose crippling regulations and tax away everyone's capital to fund its coercive utopian schemes. I like what Henry David Thoreau once said: "This government never furthered any enterprise but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way."
So does it matter if the rest of the world gets richer?
"As the Chinese and Indians become more able to buy things, businesses everywhere will find it profitable to make products that yesterday weren't profitable enough. The result will be cures for diseases and other products that make our lives better"....
When it comes to being wealthy, the more the merrier.
As Stossel notes, "It would be a sad world if one person's economic success depended on another's failure."
But then, that's the entire premise of leftist [pseudo]economics where prosperity is actually the last thing they want.
So, who are the people afraid of prosperity?
Naomi Klein for one.
Take a look at her article, "Disowned by the Ownership Society" :
It was always tempting to dismiss the ownership society as an empty slogan--"hokum" as former Labor Secretary Robert Reich put it. But the ownership society was quite real. It was the answer to a roadblock long faced by politicians favoring policies to benefit the wealthy. The problem boiled down to this: people tend to vote their economic interests. Even in the wealthy United States, most people earn less than the average income. That means it is in the interest of the majority to vote for politicians promising to redistribute wealth from the top down. [emphasis mine]
She get's a failing grade in mathematics; as well as one in economics. (Did this woman actually go to college?)
Where but in America could someone of her clearly limited intellect make so much money, rising to the 'elevated' position of leftist intellectual? But Naomi is still grumpy and not happy or in the least bit grateful for her good fortune.
What I like best about this particular editorial (besides the obvious mathematical expertise) is her contemptuous and sneering attitude toward "the wealthy", as she mouths the usual leftist platitudes about 'redistributing wealth' and all the other tired, old marxist strategies that worked so very well in the old Soviet Union; and continue to make everyone poor and miserable (except Castro and his cronies) in Cuba. It's also working really really well in Venezuela as that country faces the reality of food shortages and an economy going down the toilet.
Of course, Klein and her fellow travelers would like you to believe that it is the U.S. economy that is going down the toilet, because of Bush and the Republicans. Her latest evidence is the bursting of the housing bubble. But people like her have been predicting the same old doom and gloom for the entire 8 years of Bush's Presidency. There is certainly a significant readjustment in the market going on right now, but anyone who didn't see this coming hasn't been paying attention.
It's hardly the end of the world economically. But people like Naomi Klein have been seizing on anything they can find in order to grasp for the power over others they so desperately desire. If they had their way, the "ownership society" would be transformed into a society where "elite" intellectuals--like Klein who is essentially soulmate with dear leaders like Fidel and Hugo-- believe they are endowed with the divine right to determine what everyone else is entitled to own.
John Stossel asks, "Who's afraid of prosperity?" and the answer is clear: Those who claim to "champion" the poor--by insuring that they will always be poor; i.e., all those second-rate intellects like Klein, whose want to 'redistribute' YOUR wealth. In other words, those same people whose self-indulgent, utopian fantasies caused more human misery, abject poverty and death than could have ever been imagined in the last century; and who are making really progressive gains to outdo themselves in this one.
Oh, Klein deserves an "F" in history, too.
UPDATE: The average American family income has risen steadily since 1967. Also, the average household income is in the $70K range, while the median is in the $40-50K range (half the population above and half below). The poverty income level for a family of four is about $17K. No single statistic can reflect the complex relationships between net worth (which depends on the value of one's home, for example), income and other economic factors (i.e. amount of taxes paid). However, the trend is unmistakably up for American families. By contrast, Cuba's average household income is between $1000-2000. That's what happens when wealth is 'redistributed' by the know-it-all elites.