In our current society, four classes of economic actors are the most important; moochers, looters, traders, and the truly needy. They are the people who are on one end or the other of every financial transaction in our economy. Every time money changes hands, it does so from and to one of these actors. Exactly who are the moochers, looters, and traders?
Moochers are those folks who feel entitled to that which they have not earned; property or money that was earned by another. These are the takers, the leeches, the suckers in any society who feel entitled to be given alms from the government with no concern about the source of those funds. Their claim on the property of others is simply based on their need. Moochers need food, clothing, shelter, and more; but rather than apply their brains or muscle to a task of production to satisfy those needs, they rely on guilt and corruption to impel those who have earned their property to supply funds to satisfy those needs. They envy anyone who has more than they have and somehow believe they have a right to lay claim on the property of others simply because they do not have as much property.
Moochers envy others who have more and demand a share of their fortune. Moochers do not want to earn more, they simply want more to be given to them! Moochers and beggars have been a part of every society since man first lived in a communal setting. Early man always cared for widows and orphans out of a sense of community. That caring was not charity or guilt, it was simply the honorable thing to do. The current day moocher has exploited that sense of human duty into a perverse sense of guilt so they can get a free ride without any stigma of being on the receiving end of that which is unearned. As a society, we permit moochers to impose an onerous burden on our economic output; so much in fact, that our economic engine is coughing and sputtering in an attempt to keep running with a huge moocher drag on it.
Moochers are part of the corruption of our current government in that they will uniformly vote to continue to elect and re-elect the vile politicians who promise them a free ride by taking property from those who have earned it and redistributing that property as a “payment” for those votes. Moochers constitute a net drag on the economy of the society to which they belong; they contribute nothing to the gross domestic product and nothing other than a dependent class of citizens who could work to support their needs but choose to beg, and demand their government provide for them.
There is another class of moochers who cannot be ignored by any civilized society; the needy. There will always be those, who through no fault of their own, cannot care for themselves. They are the children, the infirmed, and the elderly who can only rely on the charity of others to survive because they do not have the ability to earn a living. We would be without mercy if we fail to support them. However, those who are truly in need are a small percentage of the population; certainly not the 50% of all current households who depend on some form of government subsidy each month to make ends meet. The entire 50% are moochers, but only a small number of them are without choice. Those who can work should; and those who cannot work should be provided for by their local community rather than by society as whole.
Looters are politicians and other special interest entities. The politicians who advocate confiscating the wealth of citizens so they can fund their redistribution of wealth social programs are looters. Special interest lobbyists who influence the government to enact laws that grant them some special privilege in the market over their competitors are also looters. Looters are the bane of any free market system because they act with the might of government power to coerce and force compliance. There laws are unfair because they are not based on Constitutional power and are the rule of men over the rule of law. There is nothing fair about government confiscating the property of one citizen and giving that property to another citizen. One tenant of our society is all members of society are equal under the law, but the looters have made a sham of that constitutional guarantee. There is no justice for those who amass wealth through hard work and ingenuity when looters “level the playing field” by redistributing the fruits of their labor.
Looters go by many names; politicians, lobbyists, special interest groups, corrupt businessmen, and organized labor, to name a few. All of these looters seek to obtain the wealth of others without earning it. Every looter wants the government to exercise its legal power of coercion, the use of force, to compel those who have amassed wealth to cede that wealth to someone who has not earned it. All looters are contemptible since they, like moochers, add nothing of value to the economy but merely sap the life blood out of it. There are so many looters in our modern society that many people do not see the looting as anything other than the status quo. Almost every one of us belongs to one or another of the special groups that are served by looters; and most certainly, every one of us who earns a living must forfeit a potion of their earnings to fund the looter’s plans. The looters, along with the moochers, will most surely stall our economic engine. Every economy has a limit as to how much drag it can endure before it fails. Margret Thatcher stated it clearly when she said, “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later, we run out of other people’s money.” I submit that later is sooner than most people think it is!
Traders are the men and women of society who engage in exchanging something of value for something they value slightly more. We are all traders when we purchase food for our consumption; we trade dollars for foodstuff. Traders are crucial to the operation of market system because they recognize the value on both sides of the trade. A trader will accept a job and give his employer an hour’s work for an hour’s pay. A trader will ask for nothing more, nor will he accept anything less than the agreed value in any trade. Traders are the consumers who have the demand for goods and the ability to pay for them, and the producers who are willing and able to supply those goods. It is this interaction between willing buyers and willing sellers that ultimately establishes the market price and quantity of all goods and services traded in a free market system. Traders could be individuals, businesses, and even government entities; but what makes them traders is the understanding that value is traded for value. That concept requires that the value offered must be very nearly equal to the value received.
The concept of being almost equal in value is important since if they were of equal value, people would be indifferent and not trade. Giving up something of value in exchange for something that is valued slightly higher is what makes trading possible. Value is in the eye of the individual. No two individuals will value anything exactly the same. The buyer values the product more than the money he relinquishes to obtain it; and the seller values the money more than the product he sells. This is a fundamental economic concept that is misunderstood by many, especially those in government who believe they can set arbitrary prices for labor and other products and the markets should behave as if the government is correct in their assessment. That is folly since the price and quantity traded in the market are determined not by government edict but by the supply and demand of the market.
Entrepreneurs are a special breed of traders who have the unique ability to see ways of combining resources to create a product or service that is in demand by consumers. It is not just this ability to combine resources that makes them special; they are also willing to accept risk. The risk they will accept is that their product may not be demanded or that they cannot make it available at a price the consumers are willing to pay. Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of a market economy because they can do what no other actor is willing or capable of doing. Entrepreneurs gave us the great industrial inventions that save our time by accomplishing more output with fewer input resources. This increase in productivity led to increased wealth, both personal and for those he employed. It also provided more leisure time since more could be produced in less time than was previously possible. Entrepreneurs have also given us inventions that enhance our leisure time.
Entrepreneurs are the most important traders since they are the ones who create productive jobs for others. Without entrepreneurs, our employment opportunities would be severely limited. Entrepreneurs are the ones who create the environment in which the workers can produce goods. Ironically, the entrepreneurs collect only a small percentage of the profits they create – the majority of the profits are shared by the workers who produce the products. But, since that majority of the profit is spread over many workers, some workers believe they are entitled to more since they believe they are the cause of production. That idea contains a fatal flaw; if the workers are responsible for the production of a product, why is an entrepreneur required to risk his time, energy, talent, and personal funds to create the enterprise that eventually hired the workers? The workers who want more of the profits without increasing their output are transitioning from being traders to becoming mooches! As long as the workers are paid fairly, value in exchange for value, they have no complaint or concern for the profit earned by the entrepreneur.
Lastly we have the truly needy. We all know who they are. The truly needy include children and adults but they all share the inability to provide for their own welfare. The truly needy have no other option but to be supported by the charity of others since they cannot provide for themselves. The truly needy are always best served by local charities whose members know the specific circumstances and are qualified to find solutions to their problems; from temporary assistance to permanent support. The least effective way to help the truly needy is through federal government programs that have no direct contact with the individuals being served. Ironically, our current government believes it is better able to serve the truly needy than locally managed charities. The proof is in the pudding as they old saying goes. Local charities have always provided for those community members in need while the federal government has a very poor record of doing anything other than serving moochers under the guise of being truly needy.
Now that I have clearly defined them, which are you dear reader? Can you identify friends, relatives, and neighbors in any of these groups? Which group of actors do you believe make our economy stronger and which group or groups make it weaker? Which group of actors engages in activities that are sustainable? Which group of actors do you want your children and grandchildren to emulate?