If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times: We have a “consumer based” society and as such, the more we spend, the better the economy, yak, yak, yak. One of our recent presidents (I forget which one– it doesn’t matter as it could have been any one of them) was convinced of this well enough that he made a public statement asking Americans to go out and buy something, so as to help the economy.
A capitalist society (that is to say, a free socisty) gets its wealth from one source and one source only– People who dream of new things, get excited about them, figure them out, and put them into practice and/or production. Simply put, wealth is a product of a winning combination: The creative human mind in concert with hard work and determination. I will herein go so far as to call it love.
“Hah! you idealist fool” you say, “oil and gold are not produced by humans, and THAT’s wealth.” I say, tell that to a frog. To a frog, petroleum is a dangerous, smelly goo that is to be avoided, and gold is just harmless and worthless. The human mind on the other hand, has dreamed up, invented and created ways to locate, extract, refine and, more importantly, make use of, oil and gold– they were not resources before the creativity of the human mind made them so.
Other than a base, stone-age existence then (actually, remove the stones from that scenario, because humans invented stone tools) real wealth can only come from imagination, creativity, invention and productivity.
What the aforementioned U.S. President should have said (if he’d had a smidgeon of a clue) was, “Dream, Oh People. Imagine something, create something, find a better way and then build a business around it. Either that or throw your support behind someone who is doing it or has already done it. In so doing you will be helping yourself while serving Mankind.” To my admitedly limited recollection, the only politician I’ve actually heard speak that way was, of all people, Condi Rice.
The next time you hear someone decrying the distastefulness of our “Consumerism” you can correct the major error in their thinking by stating this obvious fact: Production is a prerequisite to consumption.
Therefore what we have, to the degree that ours is more successful than others, is a society built on “Producerism”.
Socialist societies get their wealth from consuming (consuming other people’s property) by plunder– extorting from their own (all for very good reasons of course) and from conquest and enslavement. Socialists are unhappy, defective, paranoid, upside-down individuals– they have no imagination, which makes them unable to see or comprehend anything other than extortion and fraud as the primary means of getting things done. This would certainly explain their hatred (even self-hatred) for the wealthy.
Update: I forgot blind luck. In addition to extortion and fraud, a socialist sees blind luck as the other means of enrichment, as in “Winners of Life’s Lottery”, etc..