By: Guest Authors
by: Christine Biediger
A zero-sum game is where one person can gain or profit, only through the loss of another person. Economics is occasionally depicted as a zero-sum game â€“ the rich get richer on the backs of the poor. That concept applies to government/pie economics, as preached from the pie pulpit by Barack Obama.
Obama uses the pie analogy, frequently — not surprising to many. The reason he equates economics to pie is because he pines for the flow of money to be government driven and controlled, not market driven. In the government based pie economy, it is a zero sum game. The pie can only be as big as the confiscation of Americanâ€™s property allows. That amount is finite. Everyone has a finite amount of money to put into the pie. Once the pie is cooked, the only way to for someone to get a bigger slice of pie is to confiscate pie from the next guy.
While it is true that government uses some of the confiscated funds to create jobs (slices of pie for some), those jobs are government jobs that produce no goods or services which are marketable. Rather, they are bureaucratic, paper pushing, pie gobbling expenditures that do nothing to help add to the pie. For those who are still convinced that government/pie economics is the way to go, consider that this ideology of government controlled flow of money (property), paired with the rhetoric of slicing the pie equally for everyone is communist, pure and simple.
To illustrate free market flow of money, Iâ€™ll use my seventh grade science project: in an exercise to teach our young mush minds about the scientific research process, our teacher assigned us the task of inventing a perpetual motion machine. We were required to come up with an idea, create drawings of a prototype, develop a hypothesis, and suggest a research plan which proposed not only how to prove our idea, but also how to disprove it (Iâ€™m sure they donâ€™t teach that part of scientific research in the schools anymoreâ€¦think global warming).
The teacher reeled us in by explaining that inventors and scientists had been trying for 100 years to create a machine that would run on natural forces to produce energy. He said that if anyone discovered this in any usable form, and patented it, they would become billionaires. Of course that appealed to all of us, and we fueled our minds with dreams of grandeur.
Of course, we all failed to come up with a patentable idea (we were only seventh graders, after all), but we learned about the process of imagining, planning, researching and dreaming big.
Now, for our economic debate, letâ€™s say someone actually invents a process which uses natural, renewable resources (no, not solar panels) which would run on its own momentum, to produce energy. This person would patent it immediately, create a legal and sales team, and set out to demonstrate their prototype to all sectors of the global economy, which consumes energy (imagine!).
If this process was legit, cheap, dependable and portable, this new energy would of its own accord spread across the world, like wildfire (or capitalism). Millions upon millions of jobs would be created to design, manufacture, install and sell products that utilized this new energy source â€“ cars, appliances, power plants, airplanes â€“ the list is endless. With the simple phenomenon of competition, energy costs would necessarily plummet, companies would raise employee salaries as they competed to fulfill a growing workforce, lower prices on goods and services would escalate purchasing power, new inventions would be inspired by the new technology and create new markets and new jobs, more people with bigger salaries would have more money to spend on eating out, vacationing, lawn care, housekeeping, nannies, manicures, pedicures, spa treatments, cars, clothes, and on and on, fueling more job growth and prosperity. The flow of money would be incalculable.
People across the world would feel the prosperity of their bigger slice of pie. At whose expense did they prosper? Who becomes poorer while others are becoming better off? No one. Would there still be poor people? Sadly, yes. Because some will choose not to participate in the economy, regardless of the possibilities. But even they would be elevated to an easier and more prosperous poverty, if you will, because of the velocity of money in this capitalist, thriving environment. â€œYou can lead a horse to water, but you canâ€™t make him drinkâ€, is true. But if you can put some shade over the stubborn horse, he will be more comfortable in his thirst.
Prosperity is NOT a zero sum game in a capitalist economy.
Most of the science I learned in school managed to go in one ear and out the other. But that one, challenging project taught me to think critically â€“ to take an idea and think about it from every imaginable angle, in an effort to prove it or disprove it. This is the approach Americans must take with every idea the progressive, radical left tries to sell us. If we donâ€™t, we may end up with pie.