Misguided occupiers

Chris Gallardo
From the Associated Press interviewing an 'Occupy' protester in DC yesterday:

 "One demonstrator, Teresa Law, 50, of Springfield, Ohio, said she came to protest against corporate America and because jobs that the government promised would be created have not been created.

"I've nothing against the rich. I've something against a greedy man," Law said. She added, "Corporate America has taken over the government.""

If these four sentences do not say everything that you need to know about the confused thinking of the occupiers and unfortunately much of the human race, I don't know what does.

So much of what we hear from the occupy movement is centered on protesting against "greed." 

Greed is another word for "self interest."  Self interest, in economic terms, means that I prefer one thing to another if the first thing provides me more 'utility' (satisfaction), than the other.  It, by nature, and definition, self interest, is an individual concept.  That is, it cannot be defined for one person by another. 

Here are some real world examples of self-interest or greed:

  • 1) I prefer more money to less
  • 2) I prefer tastier food to food that is less tasty
  • 3) I prefer more kindness and love to less kindness and love
  • 4) I prefer a warm, dry home to a cold, wet one
  • 5) I prefer a closer parking spot to a further one
  • 6) I prefer better health to worse health
  • 7) If I were running for political office, I would prefer more votes to less votes

I, as well as all rational human beings, will make my decisions and take action based upon what I prefer.  Some might say, yes, but greed implies excessive self interest.  Maybe, but the problem is that who gets to decide what is excessive.  If I think that camping out in a public place for an extended period and disrupting people's lives is what I prefer, am I greedy?

Protesting against greed is like protesting against breathing.  Dr. Thomas Sowell put it best when he said:

"Blaming economic crises on 'greed' is like blaming plane crashes on gravity. Certainly planes wouldn't crash if it weren't for gravity. But when thousands of planes fly millions of miles every day without crashing, explaining why a particular plane crashed because of gravity gets you nowhere. Neither does talking about 'greed', which is constant like gravity."

I, for one, happen to agree with the occupiers that the corporate influence over government is bothersome.  The question is what is the cause?  Is it the greed of corporate America, or is it decisions being made by politicians, disguised as altruistic, but in reality that are driven by the same self-interest that drives all human beings decisions?

If you think that the cause is the greed of corporate America, then you should probably be in favor of handing more power and decisions over to politicians to make decisions on your behalf.  If you think that it is the latter, you should be in favor of the opposite.

From the Associated Press interviewing an 'Occupy' protester in DC yesterday:

 "One demonstrator, Teresa Law, 50, of Springfield, Ohio, said she came to protest against corporate America and because jobs that the government promised would be created have not been created.

"I've nothing against the rich. I've something against a greedy man," Law said. She added, "Corporate America has taken over the government.""

If these four sentences do not say everything that you need to know about the confused thinking of the occupiers and unfortunately much of the human race, I don't know what does.

So much of what we hear from the occupy movement is centered on protesting against "greed." 

Greed is another word for "self interest."  Self interest, in economic terms, means that I prefer one thing to another if the first thing provides me more 'utility' (satisfaction), than the other.  It, by nature, and definition, self interest, is an individual concept.  That is, it cannot be defined for one person by another. 

Here are some real world examples of self-interest or greed:

  • 1) I prefer more money to less
  • 2) I prefer tastier food to food that is less tasty
  • 3) I prefer more kindness and love to less kindness and love
  • 4) I prefer a warm, dry home to a cold, wet one
  • 5) I prefer a closer parking spot to a further one
  • 6) I prefer better health to worse health
  • 7) If I were running for political office, I would prefer more votes to less votes

I, as well as all rational human beings, will make my decisions and take action based upon what I prefer.  Some might say, yes, but greed implies excessive self interest.  Maybe, but the problem is that who gets to decide what is excessive.  If I think that camping out in a public place for an extended period and disrupting people's lives is what I prefer, am I greedy?

Protesting against greed is like protesting against breathing.  Dr. Thomas Sowell put it best when he said:

"Blaming economic crises on 'greed' is like blaming plane crashes on gravity. Certainly planes wouldn't crash if it weren't for gravity. But when thousands of planes fly millions of miles every day without crashing, explaining why a particular plane crashed because of gravity gets you nowhere. Neither does talking about 'greed', which is constant like gravity."

I, for one, happen to agree with the occupiers that the corporate influence over government is bothersome.  The question is what is the cause?  Is it the greed of corporate America, or is it decisions being made by politicians, disguised as altruistic, but in reality that are driven by the same self-interest that drives all human beings decisions?

If you think that the cause is the greed of corporate America, then you should probably be in favor of handing more power and decisions over to politicians to make decisions on your behalf.  If you think that it is the latter, you should be in favor of the opposite.