Imagine a guy who sees that he can save his fellow humans a lot of time, material and money by manufacturing a widget unlike any other. It would be ½ the cost of other widgets, be less harmful to the environment, and would save consumers’ money so that they will have more dollars available for other necessities or desires.
The guy buys a few modified widget-manufacturing machines and pays a few people to run them. The new and improved widgets are a hit. He swaps the widgets for dollars.
He uses some of the dollars to purchase new machinery, passes some of the dollars on to his hardest-working employees, and puts his best manager in charge of a 2nd widget factory. After about 10 years, he spends some of his money on a new house and a couple of new cars.
People want his widgets. But he doesn’t want that many things that other people have. He doesn’t worry much about new clothes, hitting the nightclubs, or taking long vacations to Europe. He likes the idea of making widgets. So instead of swapping widgets for clothes, drinks, cruises or yachts, he continues swapping widgets for money. He really doesn’t want that many things. But if anyone were to come up with something he really wanted, he would probably swap some of his money for it.
After about 20 years, as majority owner of a large corporation, this guy is one of the wealthiest people in the area. He isn’t ostentatious, doesn’t flash his money around, and gives some to charity. But mostly he just hangs onto his money, just in case he has an idea for a new product to manufacture, or finds a new location for a factory.
So… if this guy were to go on buying sprees for mansions, yachts, beachfront spreads, whores and politicians, would he then be considered a greedy bastard? Or is he a greedy bastard only if he hangs onto his money because nobody else has anything he wants to swap for it?
And finally, why does any politician who crusades to take away the guy’s money (by force) have a saintly reputation, even though these politicians have never produced any “widgets” that people want to trade their own money or stuff for?
Who is the greedy bastard….the producer who hangs onto his money, the producer who spends his money like a drunk cowboy, or the non-producer who covets someone else’s money so he can give it to his supporters?
What does it take to be considered greedy?