George Gilder in The New Edition of Wealth and Poverty made an interesting observation that capital is the tool of capitalism like books are the tools of the intellectuals and academics. This analogy led me to my article in American Thinker Craftsmen of Capital published on 9/29/12. (I submitted it as Capital Craftsmen. I like their title better.)
Capital is the tool of the capitalists. Those who create it know far better how to deploy it than those who seek to expropriate it in the name of fairness, social justice, or whatever other rationalization the intellectuals and elites may conjure. Just as the craftsman learned through trial and error, so does the capitalist. Failure is part of the process.
As George Gilder so profoundly noted in his new edition of Wealth and Poverty, capitalism works best when knowledge is matched with power. When knowledge and power are matched, we get iPhones, Apples, Microsofts, Amazons, the vaccine to eliminate cervical cancer, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, Facebooks, and Googles. When political power is exercised without knowledge or in place of knowledge, Gilder’s definition of regulation, we end up with Solyndras, a collapsed housing market, and dozens of financial regulatory agencies that were unable to stop the worst financial collapse in eighty years.
Warren Buffett may be willing to pay more taxes, though he apparently is not willing to do so voluntarily, as Mitt Romney did. But the critical question is not how much the wealthy are able or willing to pay, but where the capital will generate the greatest economic growth. Capital is a tool that, in the hands of Buffett and other capitalists like him, has generated billions of dollars of wealth, jobs, and tax revenues.
Unfortunately, thought provoking philosophers are rarely heard on the campaign trail. Coverage is directed to emotional juveniles and political campaign as a performance art. It does no good to complain about poll sampling and media bias. The champion of our free market must connect philosophical truths to the masses at an emotional level. The takes an extraordinary communicator. It remains to be seen if Romney and Ryan are up to the task.
Wealth an Poverty was written on the eve of the Reagan Revolution, the supply side tax cuts and the 25 year economic resurgence from the stagnation of the 1970’s, from Nixon through Carter. Gilder added 40,000 words to this edition but the core was written over thirty years ago and remains pertinent. Gilder raises better answers by raising better questions. I have posted several excerpts from his book on this blog and you can access them with the search feature above to the right.