June 29th, 2014
Our ancestors lived in caves, infested by parasites, chased by predators, constantly on the edge of starvation.
We live better than that now. We have nice things like houses, and medicine, and airliners, and indoor toilets, and the Internet.
How did that happen? Did we steal all that wealth from some other cavemen? From space aliens? No. People created wealth. Out of nothing – just plants and animals, dirt and air, and their own cleverness and work.
Some people are better at creating wealth than others. Just as an Albert Einstein is rare, or a Tiger Woods, or a William Shakespeare is rare, there are a few rare people who are vastly – incredibly – better at creating wealth than most everyone else.
Nowadays, these type of people become billionaires. They may not be better than most people at physics, or golf, or literature, or in any other way, but they have a rare talent for creating wealth.
And without wealth, we’d all still be living in caves.
Nota bene: I’m not saying that all billionaires get their money this way. Obviously, some get it by theft, cheating, or other types of crime, legal or not. But some really do earn it. William Jennings Bryan (“No one can earn a million dollars honestly”) was wrong.