I couldn’t agree more with Richard Branson and this post at Center for Free Enterprise Korea blog. They write:
In his new book, Screw Business as Usual (Read an excerpt here), Branson suggests one can do good by doing good business, and places his faith in a new generation of entrepreneurs willing to blur the line between business and charity by doing both at the same time.
I wrote a similar opinion in this blog post in August about Warren Buffett:
In my opinion, Buffett and his net worth peers, do much better for the economy by continuing to invest their wealth in productive ventures that make products and services that we value as consumers and provide jobs for millions of people, than by handing it over to politicians to help sustain the bureaucratic, rent-seeking behemoth we know as government.
To understand this, you need to have a firm grasp of a couple basic assumptions.
First, most successful businesses people became successful by creating value for members of society. Capitalism is a win-win game. This is something that most people do not understand, even though they participate in it daily.
I buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks because, for whatever reason, I value that cup of coffee more than the $1.65 I give up, otherwise I wouldn’t buy it. When I buy the coffee, Starbucks and I both come out ahead. Also, the folks who work at Starbucks come out ahead. This is how all voluntary trades work.
Starbucks didn’t twist my arm, put a gun to my head or otherwise force me to buy that coffee. They merely invested in a store, hired some workers and started brewing coffee and hoped enough people would find it worth their while to come buy stuff so that Starbucks investment would be worth it.
Second, successful business people like Branson have a knack for finding ways of investing in and discovering things that members of society value. In the process we all come out ahead.
A) Members of society get something that makes their lives a little bit better.
B) Workers get jobs.
Folks like Branson grow wealthy and then use that wealth, or lend it to others, to create even more of A) and B) and fund charities as well.
His success is proof he can benefit society.
What have politicians proven?
They have only proven that they can get enough votes to beat their competition in an election. That doesn’t mean that they know how to invest our money for the benefit of society better than Richard Branson.
Once a politician is elected, they do not become magically endowed with powers to invest for the best benefit of society. Even the very smart ones with degrees from places like Harvard don’t know. If you think so, please look at the Harvard course manual and point me to the classes where you learn that stuff, because I want to take them.
Taking money away from folks like Buffett, Gates and Branson to give to folks like Barney Frank, Anthony Weiner and Harry Reid to spend doesn’t help us. This is self-destructive, like cutting your nose off to spite your face.
Unfortunately, most folks don’t realize that they are cutting off their own nose. They don’t realize that when they support large government and heavy taxation that they are trading away things like iPhones and Starbucks and the jobs these things produce for government bureaucracies.
When placing bets for the future, I’d rather have those with past successes and with their own money laying the chips on the table.