I don’t suppose there’s any chance President Obama or Elizabeth Warren reads the Journal’s op-ed page, is there? No, probably not. Anyway, take it away, Andy Kessler:
History has proven that the road to increased standards of living and wealth was built on productivity-doing more with less. It was the Industrial Revolution that got us out of the growing fields and into factories, which allowed us to pay for roads and teachers and civil servants. And now the move out of factories into air-conditioned offices is creating anxiety. It shouldn’t. Labor replacement is productivity. James Spangler’s vacuum cleaner. The Walker brothers’ dishwasher. Clarence Birdseye’s flash freezing. DuPont’s Kevlar. And John Simpson’s guidewire catheter for angioplasty and heart stents-the list goes on. Each invention generated wealth because it improved our lives, not because someone “gave back.”
Aside from outsized government-assisted profits (think telecom, asbestos removal and Derek Jeter), it is the delivery of these productive goods and services that increases our wealth. The inventors get wealthy but society gets wealthier. No forced giveback needed. [Emph. added.]
Cliff-Notes version of above, in case you’re in a hurry: society gets more benefit from innovation than innovators do. It’s how the math works. This should be obvious, right? Unfortunately, in certain quarters, it’s not. . .