(CCU Faculty) “We won’t have any trouble about inventors under Socialism, for there won’t be any.” So wrote F. G. R. Gordon “agitator and author,” in a letter to the editor of the New York Times in 1909. “The non-competitive system will tend to discourage genius.”
Entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators are found to varying degrees in virtually all political economies around the world. In the past they have been referred to as capitalist pigs for various reasons. This human livestock is responsible for the creation of every single technological disruption caused through virtually every innovation and invention that mankind has put into use. How many resources have been wasted in the failures of those who tried and lost? How many jobs have vanished?
Have the last 100 years of relative free markets in the western world really been a “positive for the people”? Is the world really a better place with all this destructive inventing by loose cannons and uncontrolled selfish mavericks? Imagine if there were no technology. Work would be so much more organic - focusing on the basics of daily living – everyone walking around equally and free from the constraints and requirements of technology (fig leaves for clothing perhaps? – no wait, that would be innovation too).
Well, why do we have clothes anyway, do we really need them? Do we need houses? Computers? Cell phones? Cars? Heat? Let alone food from a grocery store? Wouldn’t you prefer a simpler life, say in a plain cement block house - the same for everyone - where you were provided for? Wouldn’t that be Eden? Well no, wait, cement blocks are technology going way back to some early Roman entrepreneur – they should have stoned him (pun intended).
Yes, in fact wouldn’t it be preferable and so much less destructive if we all lived in caves? That’s more equal! Of course how do we get the caves all the same size…? Well, don’t worry, the way things seem to be going in the U.S. now, maybe we will have true equality like that very soon and we can figure that out!
Proponents of free markets and entrepreneurship point to so called evidence showing that where entrepreneurial activity occurs in abundance, where it is valued and promoted, economies are stronger and healthier, more jobs are created and more wealth is more efficiently distributed across populations, than with any other economic system in modern history, and quite probably in world history. But up until recently these economies just didn’t have the highly developed, efficient and smart government systems that we now have in place.
All we really need now is for the smart people at the top to figure it all out, tell us what we need to do, and voila, we have solved the inequality and greed problem caused by free markets and entrepreneurship! Then everyone can get down to really enjoying the simple pleasures in life like digging up wild roots for a snack to share or at lunchtime catching trout with their bare hands – yum sashimi!
It is a topic for another day perhaps, but eventually maybe we wouldn’t even need offices any more or artificial forms of energy to run our manmade machines that destroy the planet.
We know that there are always ongoing changes in the world and it seems that where there are people, some form of entrepreneurship happens regardless of socio-
political economy. We can see however, that particularly where there is the rule of law protecting private property and voluntary exchange, entrepreneurs are found creating opportunities (or trying) with whatever resources seem to be at hand. What we must do then, is remove (or at least handicap) the rule of law that protects private property rights and voluntary exchange that seem to be at the heart of the entrepreneur capitalist pig phenomenon.
As for the creation of wealth, another so called result of entrepreneurship and free markets, what we really need to do is to simply pick those ideas that are going to work and put everyone’s money into them. Again, we just need a few smart people at the top to figure it out and pick the right ideas. Our government for example!
After a little trial and error experimentation, with more regulation to control the selfish entrepreneur/inventors from running wild, and with more taxes and fees to distribute that wealth a little more equally, we can be certain to finally have the right government solution.
One hundred years after F.G.R. Gordon spoke those words, we are in the U.S. again in a position to create a non-competitive system that discourages such “genius” as invention. Maybe this time we can rid the world of this inane free market movement; roast the entrepreneur capitalist pigs and have them for dinner. Once that problem is taken care of...,
…wait now -- where’s the next meal coming from?