Monday, January 01, 2007

Pooling Our Collective Ignorance

How did Bill Gates get his fortune? Not by someone deciding how much Bill Gates was worth to "society," but by innumerable people around the world deciding whether what Microsoft offered them was worth what Microsoft charged.

What all those sales added up to -- Microsoft's income and Gates' fortune -- nobody decided. Nor is there any reason why they should have, even aside from the fact that nobody is qualified to make such a decision.

We can each decide for ourselves whether what Microsoft offers is worth it to us. That is all we are competent to decide -- and only for ourselves individually, when spending our own money.

The idea that we should pool our collective ignorance and then decide how much it is "fair" for Gates or anybody else to earn in total income is as ridiculous as it is dangerous, for it means arming politicians with the arbitrary power to decide everyone's economic fate.

From economist
Thomas Sowell's latest column.

2 Comments:

At 1/02/2007 9:48 AM, Anonymous Steve E. said...

I find it interesting that when comments are made about people making "too much" money, they seem to always be directed towards business leaders...that is, the cruel, heartless CEO of major corporations. Why do we never hear the same type of commentary regarding Tom Cruise, Madonna or George Clooney? Its hard to believe that their contribution to society is commensurate with their payscale.

 
At 1/02/2007 1:24 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

I had a previous post on this, where I listed celebrity salaries. I have never heard anybody ever complain about Oprah or Tiger's salaries.

 

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