Who makes capitalism work?

Who makes capitalism work?


(jazz music) – Let me ask you a question. Who makes capitalism work? Now maybe you’re saying to yourself, John Paul, everybody
makes capitalism work. Like Shu Lin, the cashier at CVS who neatly folds those receipts that look like the Christmas
list of a psychotic child. or Jorge, the financial planner
who explained to you that Powerball tickets are not part of a sound investment portfolio. Or even Big Tony, Who put the Knight Rider
tinting in your Ford Festiva at his luxury tattoo
parlor and auto salon. Pretty sweet huh? You might say all these
people make capitalism work— doing their jobs, exchanging
goods and services— you, me, everyone. But do
you really believe that? Do we all make capitalism work or is there a group of
people who are essential? Who really made capitalism work. But that Henry Fords of the world. The Bill Gateses, maybe Steve Jobs. If you think these are the
people who make capitalism work, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re a lot
like this woman, Ayn Rand. Rand was one of the most
famous public intellectuals of the 20th century. She was a ubiquitous media presence, selling millions of books and acting as an evangelist for her vision of free markets and individual liberty. Ayn Rand’s most important
book is this one. “Atlas Shrugged.” An a thousand-paged novel
that is an extended parable for Rand’s worldview. It’s almost like the
Bible for her followers. If, that is, the Bible
described a world without God and Jesus threw the money
lenders into the temple. In “Atlas Shrugged,” a small band of inventors,
industrial magnets, and successful entrepreneurs get fed up with the government’s attempts
to control their affairs and manage the economy. The group decides to go on strike, withholding their brains and best efforts from the rest of American society, retreating instead to a hidden valley in the Colorado Rockies. When these high-profile
individuals go into hiding, the American economy crumbles, just falls apart, and
nobody knows what to do. Luckily for them, John Galt, the hero of “Atlas Shrugged,” is there to explain what happened. He commandeers a radio station (this is the 1950s) and gives
an address to the nation explaining everything that’s
wrong with American society. The success of capitalism, and the fate of society, depends
on a small group of people with nearly superhuman abilities. With their vision, their creativity, and their extraordinary intelligence, they propel society forward, coming up with the world-changing ideas and revolutionary products that lift society, as Rand says, even higher than the rest of us with it. This is the creative vision of capitalism, a word Rand often uses to describe this extraordinary group of people. In this vision, the success of capitalism relies on a tiny class of creators. Again, the Steve Jobses and
the Henry Fords of the world. Without them, the economy
would just sputter along. Maybe it would even fall apart. This way of talking about the economy, as if there is a tiny group of people who keep the wheels of capitalism turning, is pretty familiar to us today. But it might have come as
a surprise to this man. The Nobel Prize–winning
economist Milton Friedman. In his famous televison
series “Free to Choose,” Friedman drew the attention
of his viewers to this. The No. 2 pencil. There’s not a single person in the world who could make this pencil,
Friedman told his viewers. Instead, it takes an almost
unfathomable group of people making their individual contributions— say, for example, the miners
who dig for the graphite, or the farmers who
cultivate the rubber trees, and the loggers who cut them down. Then there are the cargo ships and the crews who bring the raw
materials from port to port. And the dock hands who retrieve the crates and the truckers who
bring them to the factory. Literally thousands of people cooperated to make this pencil, Friedman told his viewers, so
when you go down to the store and buy this pencil, you’re, in effect, trading
a few minutes of your time for a few seconds of all
those thousands of people. This is the cooperative
vision of capitalism and it differs from the creator vision in two significant ways. The cooperative vision underscores the division of labor and capitalism and within this, the ability
of people to work together toward a common end. By contrast, the creator
vision doesn’t emphasize all of the different actors
involved in any commercial task. It takes human cooperation for granted. As if getting along is
something we can expect from a species whose
behavior throughout history more often resembles “Game of Thrones” than an episode of “Mister
Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The second difference is that, unlike the creative vision of capitalism, in the cooperative vision, no one person or any small group of people is really that important to the economy, and certainly no one is critical. We’re all just working together, exchanging goods and services, producing things at once
as simple and essential as the No. 2 pencil. These two visions of capitalism, the creative vision and
in the cooperative vision, are two ways of answering the question: Who makes capitalism work? And the answer you give is important because it will likely
shape whom you think deserves the lion share of the credit
for economic development. Because Ayn Rand believed the creator class was
critical to commercial growth, she also believed that this
group was absolutely deserving of a disproportionate
amount of the spoils. On the other hand, for
those who adhere to the cooperative vision of
capitalism, we are all essential to keeping the wheels of commerce turning— from the designer of the Model T to the man who dropped in the engine. And therefore, whether
it is power, prestige, honor, or money, it is much harder
to justify, morally at least, extreme examples of inequality. So who do you think makes capitalism work? It’s a good question. And, much like the Knight Rider
tinting your Ford Festiva, one you shouldn’t take lightly. (jazz music)

7 Comments on "Who makes capitalism work?"


  1. This is a trick question based on a Marxist premise.

    The speaker here deliberately misrepresents Ayn Rand’s views and is conflating Capitalism, which is a system that protects individual rights, with wealth creation, which is the result of the choices and actions that people make WITHIN that system so there is NO dichotomy or conflict between those WHO make it work and those WHO create wealth because they are all one and the same: productive, honest and peaceful individuals.

    The fact that some people are more productive than others and are consequently more monetarily wealthy than others does not deprive those others of anything.

    In actual FACT, it’s the exact opposite. The super productive are the super beneficial WHEN and to the extent the system they act within is CAPITALISM and the whole point of why Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged was to dramatize that FACT.

    Reply

  2. Strawman video. Read Ayn Rand and you will see for yourself. Ayn Rand makes it clear that the foundation of life is the man who choose to think, create and trade for mutual benefit. She explains the trader principle.

    "The symbol of all relationships among [rational] men, the moral symbol of respect for human beings, is the trader. We, who live by values, not by loot, are traders, both in matter and in spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. A trader does not ask to be paid for his failures, nor does he ask to be loved for his flaws. A trader does not squander his body as fodder or his soul as alms. Just as he does not give his work except in trade for material values, so he does not give the values of his spirit—his love, his friendship, his esteem—except in payment and in trade for human virtues, in payment for his own selfish pleasure, which he receives from men he can respect. The mystic parasites who have, throughout the ages, reviled the traders and held them in contempt, while honoring the beggars and the looters, have known the secret motive of their sneers: a trader is the entity they dread—a man of justice." -Ayn Rand

    Reply

  3. It was not Milton Friedman who came up with that pencil story. It was "I, Pencil" by Leonard Reed.

    Reply

  4. Wrong question. The correct question is: What makes Capitalism work? Read; Capitalism the Unknown Ideal- by Ayn Rand , and judge for yourself.

    Reply

  5. I wonder if Mr. Rollert actually read Atlas Shrugged… But then, maybe he did, and he's just a modern day Balf Eubank.

    Reply

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