By Chris Rossini
There really are only a few major ways to acquire wealth. One is as the service of others, and the other is at the expense of others. The former is the arena of the free market. The latter is the arena of politics, bureaucracy and crony capitalism.
In a free marketplace, one must produce that which is most urgently desired by consumers. Obviously, everything that is desired by consumers cannot possibly be produced. Resources are not unlimited on Earth. This is not the Garden of Eden.
Resources are scarce, labor is scarce, and time is scarce for those who are alive. These must all be economized and allocated to produce that which consumers urgently demand the most.
There are universal and impersonal guidelines to lead the producers of goods and services. They are known as profits and losses.
Profits signal that more of a product or service is in demand by consumers. Losses are a signal that less (or none) of the product or service is in demand.
When losses reach the point of the liquidation of an enterprise, the resources are taken up by other producers for the creation of products and services that are in higher demand.
In the free market, the consumer is in control. The consumer is the king. For it is the consumer that has the absolute power to say "YES" or "NO" with his wallet.
Likewise the producer must obey. Whether the demand is for expensive fine wine, or cheap carbonated sugar water, the producer is at the mercy of what the consumer desires most.
Sadly, the free market is something that waved bye-bye to Americans a century ago. Once government is allowed to interfere in the marketplace, favoritism and politics must take over. That moves us to the second way to acquire wealth -- through force and taking.
Today, the marketplace is completely dominated by government "regulations" at all levels. Under this setup, favored and politically-connected corporations benefit along with the politicians and bureaucrats.
Under crony capitalism the consumer is no longer king. The crony and politically-connected corporation becomes king, along with the bureaucrats and politicians that supply the "regulations."
Consumers, instead of having the absolute power to say "YES" or "NO" are now forced to buy products and services because of political "mandates."
The politicians come into office with meager incomes, and after their terms are some of the wealthiest people in the country. In other words, "public service" pays very, very well when you get rid of the free market.
Likewise, the crony and politically-connected corporate employees rack up net worths that have reached over $100 billion!
This is the flip-side of acquiring wealth at the service of others. It's the way to acquire wealth at the expense of others.
Instead of resources being allocated towards products and services that consumers desire most, they are instead squandered on political machinations and schemes that line the pockets of a select few politicians and corporate employees.
The most popular political machination is war. War is the biggest and most reliable "government program" of them all. But it is far from the only one.
In fact, President Biden, who has supported plenty of war, says that when he thinks of "climate change," he thinks of "jobs."
What a perfect example of crony capitalism.
This is not the desire of the consuming public. This is the road to riches for the politically-connected few, if they can pull it off, and they're definitely trying to pull it off; that much we can see.
But economic laws are unbreakable.
Ultimately, the free market must make its valiant return. Politicians and their politically-connected friends eventually screw everything up so badly, that there are no rabbits left in the top hat.
Economic planning always (without exception) produces historic disaster.
Economic pain for the masses always has its limits.
When the free market returns, it's like a breath of fresh air. The pent-up creativity of voluntary commerce is released once again, and once again the consumer becomes the king.
So the way to acquire wealth is always a choice. Will you serve your way to wealth? Or just take it from others like the political classes do?
The thing about wealth is this: In the end, we all leave this Earth with the exact amount that we came with: Zero.
Obviously the acquisition of wealth is not the important factor here. You can't take a single debased Federal Reserve dollar bill with you!
Both the billionaire politically-connected executive and the small business owner that serves his customers (without any government connection or privileges) will leave this Earth with nothing.
But each during their lifetimes made that critical choice: Service? Or Politics and Plunder?
In the Bible, Jesus is quoted as saying: "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul.”
If there was ever a proclamation that voluntary service is the way to go, that was it.
Wealth at the service of others is far superior to the acquisition of wealth at the expense of others.