Guest Author Blog:
The 5 Big Lies About American Business: Combating The Most Toxic Myths About The Market Economy by Michael Medved.
Long term recovery from the current economic mess requires more than new government programs or altered leadership on Wall Street. The American people will only make progress on a reliable road to renewed prosperity when they understand and reject increasingly prevalent lies about the capitalist system.
For instance, most people seem to embrace the illogical and profoundly destructive idea that “when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.” On the angry left as well as the Tea Party right, indignant Americans blame our present predicament on elite financial manipulators who somehow managed to enhance their own huge fortunes while wrecking the prospects of everyone else. Never mind the abundant stories of ruined millionaires or desperate billionaires, or the abundant evidence that the most prosperous people took the biggest hit to their puffed-up portfolios in the terrifying meltdown of 2008. Never mind the exposure and dismissal of fraudulent Marxist class-struggle rhetoric in every corner of the developed world. Many hard-working citizens still instinctively sense that their own interests suffer when some stranger across town creates new wealth for himself.
Contrary to all experience and common sense, we maintain our ill-considered allegiance to the idea of a zero-sum game: the idiot notion that if someone earns more, then someone else must earn (or own) less. Despite the huge explosion of worldwide wealth in the last thirty years and the entrance of literally billions of human beings into the productive, global middle class, we rarely challenge the asinine assumption that good fortune for one individual inevitably means suffering for another.
This sort of common misconception not only distorts public policies, but blocks personal progress and embitters families.
The purpose of my new book “THE 5 BIG LIES ABOUT AMERICAN BUSINESS” is not only to clarify debate on pressing national issues, but to push for an attitude adjustment that increases the odds for any and every American to achieve an individual recovery, regardless of dysfunction in Washington or Wall Street. For instance, recognition that when the rich get richer, the poor and middle class must also profit, makes a difference on both political issues and the sense of empowerment and optimism essential for personal success. No employee can succeed without understanding that his own welfare depends to a great extent on the achievements of his boss. Rather than worrying about “obscene profits,” we should fear, above all, obscene losses. The gloomy employees of General Motors can attest to the fact that a big company never helps its own workers, let alone the public at large, by losing big money.
When prosperous people earn more money, on the other hand, they very rarely put those funds into a mattress. Instead, they either spend it or invest it: expanding business operations and creating more (and probably better-paying) jobs, or buying more stuff for themselves (creating yet more jobs), or investing the funds for potential profit (still more jobs). If a business earns handsome profits, that’s generally an indication that they provide eager customers with goods or services they choose to buy. It’s only rarely an indication of exploitation or the punishing of the public.
At a time of near universal economic suffering, there should be more openness than ever to the revolutionary and ultimately life-changing realization that you gain, rather than losing, from the progress of the people around you. By the same token, bad luck for the privileged never brings more blessings for the impoverished. Severe losses for the business elite will lead directly to collapsing, companies, communities and even societies.
For some readers, the logic in my book will sound distinctly counter-intuitive – in attacking cherished, ubiquitous, but groundless beliefs like the profound, automatic superiority of small business over big business (actually, every small business yearns to get big), or the common assumption that government responds more directly to public needs and preferences than do private companies (actually, few bureaucracies ever go out of business by ignoring or insulting the people they serve, but arrogant, inefficient corporations close down every day).
THE 5 BIG LIES ABOUT AMERICAN BUSINESS doesn’t pretend to offer the last word on every controversy pertaining to our present predicament. But it should help to focus new attention and spirited argument on the pernicious myths that continue to hamper recovery, on both a national and personal level.
Michael Medved is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, best-selling author and veteran film critic. Mr. Medved is the author of 12 non-fiction books as well as the definitive history of the White House chiefs of staff, The Shadow Presidents. His most influential-and controversial-work was a best-selling indictment of the entertainment industry, Hollywood Vs. America. Most recently, Michael's book "The 10 Big Lies About America," spent twelve weeks on the New York Times extended bestseller list, and became a Main Selection of the Conservative Book Club. The follow-up volume — "The 5 Big Lies About American Business," is already a Main Selection of the Conservative Book Club.
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