Sunday, 18 September 2011

Economic woes - zero sum game thinking seems to be taking over again

The thinking of theft is profoundly destructive. It tends to corporatism, mercantilism, socialism, all the systems that lead ultimately to poverty and destruction.

It is thinking based on: Any benefit for me has to be at the expense of you, so toughies to you. Or if its the other way around – you rich swine, you have obviously ripped off the poor and now I must steal your wealth away from you and give it back to those from whom you stole.
The cake is finite and for some to have more they must have deprived or must deprive others to get it.

That thinking is terribly sad, because not only is it untrue in all but the very short term, it leads to much of the misery, despair and death with which we live and die.

The libertarian approach is a blessing in that it recognises our ability to achieve and allows the freedom to pursue every course that is not based on the destruction of others.

Unfortunately, because the zero-sum-game mentality has become so embedded in our psyches, it is but a slip of the mind away from taking over, yet again, and depriving all of us of opportunity and achievement.

The businesses that succeed tend to employ the approach of promoting the interests of everyone involved. Those that tend towards failure are more concerned with taking the creativity from and ensuring the minimum return for its employees.

It seems that the fashion is to regard colonialism as an evil curse. This, after all, was the process by which the wealth of say, Africa was ripped from the ground and transported to Europe.
Whether one sees the western, Europe-originated, way of life as a curse or a blessing is an opinion, but certainly, the establishment of the colonies brought massive infrastructure in the lands they colonised and enabled all the western advantages such as roads, telephones, technology, medicine, agricultural cash crops, air transport, the whole modern way of life that continues to exist despite prevalent zero-sum-game attitudes and consequent breakdowns.

Life does not have to be a zero sum game, and is not, when creative people have the freedom to seek their own benefit.

Certainly, what has come from the alternative approach has only ended in death and failure.

I can imagine the response: But what about those who start from a background of deprivation and disadvantage?
I am afraid that is the zero sum game speaking, as it is when an entrepreneur seeks to build any business based on taking wealth from others rather than wealth generation.
It is an approach that is untrue and unhelpful and just needs to get left behind.

The way out of deprivation is through achievement and for there to be achievement there first has to be the freedom to think and to express. And then to do and create without the hinderence of some trying to make sure you do not deprive others by your efforts, and slapping all sorts of regulatory requirements on you.

You cannot legislate creativity.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff John - the 'greater good' becomes the justification for so much theft and stifling of creativity. More than politics - it's a way of life, and a failed one at that...