Some time back I told a group of ten year olds that I had hidden a bag of candy. I passed out maps that I assured them would lead to the treasure, but I purposely withheld the beginning point. They began walking around, turning this way and that, counting their steps, as they each dutifully followed the map . Not one of them asked for that key piece of information that would have unlocked it. This surprised me for some reason. In the end no one found the candy. So I ate it myself… In front of them.
There is a lesson here in economics. Where one begins in the study of economics will determine where he ends up.
When most hear the word “economy” they think of the availability of jobs, money and so on. But the starting point of economics is man, namely, answering the question, how will he act, good or not so great, under given circumstances? With this answer in hand it then attempts to answer another question, how do we enlist our fellow man to participate in our own benefit?
While capitalism begins with the more negative view that man is only interested in himself, and from selfish motives will work, improvise, innovate, trade, think, risk, explore and other things that make for a good economy, communism is based on an assumption that man is more altruistic. It assumes he will do these same things with the same zeal in return for his fair share of resources, however much some wealthy, innately-benevolent leader decides that is.
That this hasn’t ever worked is a testament to the faultiness of communism’s premise. That it will ever be attempted is a testament to the validity of capitalism’s premise regarding man’s condition… well, that and his resilience to the truth regarding that sad condition.