“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel or envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.“ – Winston Churchill
The Fallacy of Wealth Redistribution
Periodically I receive a newsletter from a vintage mid-century art glass dealer. For the most part the newsletters contain interesting and useful information (although the content of all newsletters is somewhat self-serving) about vintage mid-century Blenko glass. (Check the Blenko Glass Museum at www.blenkomuseum.org. The website contains a wealth of information and great photos of exceptionally beautiful free blown glass pieces.)
However, his latest newsletter, mainly about a successful show in New York, The Stella Modernism Exhibition at the Gramercy Armory, where the dealer exhibited many of his vintage modern glass pieces, contained the following disquieting statement with regards to the state of the present US economy:
“I can only hope that this correction (meaning rich people losing millions due to the present crisis) will lead to a more equitable distribution of wealth – more to the middle, less to the top.” Words in parenthesis are mine for clarification, derived from the context of the statement.
I could not pass the opportunity of commenting on it, particularly because we have a presidential candidate, Barack Obama, who believes and preaches the fallacy of “a more equitable distribution of wealth” for Americans. Government has gained unprecedented power over the banking industry. Socialism has been coming for several decades now, particularly making its way through our public education system. Today we have appearing before our very eyes the real and ominous specter of socialism in the United States of America: our country being led by a president with an agenda of social and political justice pursued through the “redistribution of wealth”. It should not only send shivers down our spines, but it should also make every American who believes the free market is the key to economic growth and prosperity very angry!
I e-mailed my comments to the glass dealer, who no doubt is knowledgeable about art glass, but relatively young and inexperienced, apparently misguided philosophically and politically, and quite intolerant and cocky when it comes to dealing with differing points of view and criticism. Following is what I shared with him:
Just the other day I was having dinner with my wife at a very nice restaurant we go to regularly; I decided to put into practice this very old principle of “wealth redistribution”. As always, we received first class service from everyone in the restaurant, particularly from the waitress, a mother of two elementary age children. After we finished our dinner, our bill came out to $80.75. I consider myself a generous tipper, meaning that my gratuities are at least 20 percent, most of the time up to 25 percent. That meant a $20.20 tip.
Across the street from the restaurant sat a homeless man on a buss stop bench. We could see him from the outside terrace where we were dining that afternoon. I decided to “redistribute my wealth more equitably” and give the homeless man half of the $20.20 tip. When the bill was brought to me by the waitress I explained my “redistribution of wealth plan” to her and what I was about to do. She had been our waitress on many occasions. She is an exceptionally nice lady. Let me tell you she was not a happy camper. Here’s a woman who, three years earlier, arrived from a communist country where the wealth and everything else for that matter was taken and redistributed by the government (mostly to themselves). Only the governing elite, the high ranking officers of the communist party in that country have wealth and privileges the common people don’t even have access to. She left her native land because even the most basic freedoms were taken away by a totalitarian regime that promised, among many other things, the “equitable redistribution of wealth” and the end of poverty. The wealth was redistributed. Businesses, land and everything else was taken from their owners and nationalized. “Now”, they said, “everything belongs to the people.” Most of the rich left the country with very little of nothing. The totalitarian government elite became the new and only rich class in the country, and just a couple of decades later, a nation that in the past had a strong and growing middle class, was reduced to one of the poorest nations on earth. Today, except for the governing elite, nobody has anything.
The waitress said: “The homeless man did not serve your food. He didn’t work for this tip, he does not deserve it. That is pure unadulterated socialism.” And she was absolutely right! She added, “I did not come to this country to have my hard earned money given to people who did not work for it.”
Of course, I gave her the $20.20 tip. By the time we left the restaurant, the homeless man was gone.
Under a communist or socialist regime, where “wealth redistribution” is practiced (at least at the start, when there’s wealth to redistribute), you would not be able to have the wonderful capitalistic vintage modern glass business you have today, unless you become part of the government elite.
While we’re on this subject, let’s start practicing what is preached in the above statement: Begin redistributing the Blenko Glass pieces you have for sale on your online business “more to the middle, less to those on the top” who are the ones willing and able to purchase your pieces. In other words, start selling them for half the price to be “fairer” to the average middle class glass collector or enthusiast. You would not do it. Not if you want to have a business and make money. I would not do it either. I don’t believe anybody in its right mind would. It is a preposterous idea! Anyhow, who am I to tell you or anyone at what price to sell your merchandise or to whom to give your money to? At least that is what most business people believe in a free and capitalistic country. You want to make as much money as you can from any business, that is why is called a business, and yours is a very capitalistic one at that, not a charity organization or a welfare program. Soon you would not have a business following this socialistic principle of “wealth redistribution”. As a regular business practice, the redistributive economic model would be disastrous for families, for businesses and for the economy of a nation.
When speaking about socialism, Winston Churchill said it well: “Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
Guido F. Castellanos