Friday, August 12, 2011

Quote of the Day: Steven Horwitz

The bigger problem with the rhetoric of “giving back” is that it is shows a misunderstanding of the fundamental process by which wealth is generated. In particular it ignores the mutually beneficial nature of exchange and assumes that those who have become rich did so by “taking” from others. The only reason one would “give back” is that one has “taken” something inappropriately from others. The “back” in “give back” assumes that the thing in question rightfully belongs to someone else.

In a free market, of course, people don’t get rich by taking from others. They do so by providing goods and services that others wish to purchase because they value those things more highly than the money they are asked to pay. That is, the rich offer opportunities for mutually beneficial trades. This is why, as I noted last week, so many market transactions end with both parties saying “thank you.”

~ Steven Horwitz, from Giving Back

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