If Altruists Really Cared...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Writing at RealClear Markets, John Tamny makes the following interesting point about recent calls for golfer Phil Mickelson to give his winnings away:

This is not the image of virtue. (Image via Pixabay.)
Crucial here is that tomorrow's brilliant companies are likely unknown to most of us, and it's safe to say that their eventual success will surprise even the most skilled of investors. Apple was a surprise. So was ESPN. So were Google, Facebook and Amazon. So once was GE and the lightbulb. All of these companies and their advances made it thanks to there being rich people capable of losing money on risky investments.

Presently Phil Mickelson is being pressured by sports journalists with limited knowledge of basic economics to once again give his money to "good causes." They're confused. There's no better cause than progress when it comes to bringing the brilliance of the future into the present with great rapidity. Mickelson has the means with his millions to do just that, but only if he invests the fruits of his own genius rather than doing what the chattering classes say is "right," but that's plainly wrong. [bold added]
All I might add to this piece is that the altruist chattering classes aren't just wrong about the idea that the best way to lift all boats is to give money away on the basis of need: The whole idea that anyone is obligated to do so is not even wrong. In addition, I think Tamny is being very generous towards many of them: See also Richard Salsman's recent piece, "Socialism Worked in Venezuela." But yes, as for the point that investment bests handouts as a means to help everyone, especially including the investor and the less fortunate, this article is worth remembering.

As Ayn Rand once put it, "[T]here are no conflicts of interests among rational men." The stark contrast between effectively throwing money out the window and growing it is an excellent illustration.

-- CAV

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