WASHINGTON, July 3, 2015 – “Whoever is rich,” said St. Jerome, “cannot be rich unless he has robbed a poor man.” St. Jerome didn’t get out much. He was a hermit living in a cave, after all. He believed his severe, self-imposed living conditions prevented him from accidentally bettering his lot in life and, by doing so, impoverishing his fellow-man.
Jerome believed in what modern economists call the “fixed cake fallacy.” The silly theory (believed by Karl Marx) states that all wealth is fixed, and, like physical matter, cannot be made or destroyed, only rearranged.
If capitalists were getting rich, it was poor workers who were being robbed.
As time passed and the wages, working conditions and the wellbeing of European workers increased, Marxists had to fashion a plausible explanation for this wealth explosion.
“Well,” they said, “imperialism and the economic exploitation that followed in its wake are the sources of that stolen wealth.” For Marxist theory to remain plausible, Western workers and their capitalist employers had to be made coequal plunderers.
Wolfgang Fengler, lead economist in trade and competitiveness for the World Bank, said in a recent blog post,
I still thought, like most activists on the left did, that the solution to global poverty lay in taking resources away from the rich and redistributing them to the poor… Since 1990, global GDP has more than doubled from $47 trillion to $99 trillion. Most of this growth has happened in countries that were as poor 25 years ago as most of Africa is today… If the world only focused on redistribution, many of these previously poor countries could have never grown rich.
Unfortunately, many so-called First World nations have geared their economies to wealth redistribution and not growth.
So it comes as no surprise that the journal of Obamanomics, the New York Times, offered its readers this oxymoronic headline: “Data Show Healthy Job Growth but Also Signs of Weakness.”
Five paragraphs into the Times’ story, you’ll find this:
The share of American adults either working or looking for a job, which in many ways is a better gauge of economic robustness than the oft-cited jobless rate, fell 0.3 percentage point in June. With June’s drop, the so-called labor participation rate is now at its lowest level since 1977.
It is a supreme irony that a majority of economists say the fixed-cake theory is a fallacy when applied to free markets, but fail to identify economies geared exclusively to wealth redistribution (Greece, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C.) as the recipients of socialism’s dry, stale crumbs.