Rolling Stone is wrong: Real economic advice for millennials

Criticism of capitalism has become a fine art. But it is dead wrong. Photo: AP Photo

WASHINGTON, January 7, 2013 — A recent Rolling Stone article provides bad advice for millennials.

The article identifies five concrete goals that millennials should be pursuing in order to escape from “the economic hellhole our parents have handed us.”

They include:

  • Guaranteed work for everybody
  • Social security for all
  • Collective ownership of real estate
  • Collective ownership of everything
  • State-owned banks

Criticism of capitalism as part of the evaluation of the economic difficulties that country has experienced has become a fine art. Blaming the free-market for our woes is considered by some to be insightful and wise.

But it is dead wrong.

Perhaps the ability to get a college degree without any meaningful study of history can explain the lack of familiarity with the real-life results such as North Korea and the Soviet Union from these tired and tried ideas.

Despite this, the quest for equality of results continues. Arguments against this are nothing new, either (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s brilliant “Harrison Bergeron” from 1961).

Read this essential advice for millennials and everyone else in America. This will actually yield beneficial results:

1. Get A Job

Any job. Anywhere.

Each job is merely a stepping-stone to the next one. Employers don’t care about one’s dreams, ideas, hopes, or passions; they only care about what you have done as an indicator of what you will do. Having a first job will increase the likelihood of a second one.

The prospect of added value is the only reason any job is created in a free marketplace. An employer anticipates the cost of the employee will be exceeded by the results of that employee’s labor. The greater the value, the greater the pay. It has nothing to do with the intrinsic worth of the person.

At one extreme is the minimum-wage earning teenager, sweeping floors in the back of a fast food restaurant; at the other is Floyd Mayweather, earning $85 million last year off two huge pay-per-view fights. Each has received compensation based upon the value added in their respective fields.

2. Plan For Your Own Future

No one cares more about what is going to happen to you than you. Make plans to ensure that you are in a position take care of yourself. Why would you ever expect someone else to plan your future for you? Even if they did, how can you be sure that you their plans meet with your approval? If you are able to take care of yourself, then no one can tell you what do to.

3. Celebrate Private Property

Do you let others add or delete apps on your iPhone? Of course not, because it is yours. Being yours, you control how the phone is configured, based upon your own desires and preferences, and no one can force you to do otherwise. Because it is yours.

If you had to choose between two identical cars to buy, with the only difference being that a car rental company owned one of them, which one would you buy? The obvious answer is the one that was owned by an individual for their own use. No one treats rental cars the way they treat their own, because it is theirs.

4. Celebrate Achievement

Excellence in others is something to be admired and used as motivation for self-improvement. To bemoan other’s successes is selfish and small.

A lack of envy and a respect for the success of others used to be a hallmark of America. Bono famously distinguished between the perspectives of the Irish and the American: “An Irishman will see a mansion and say to himself ‘someday I’m going to get that guy,’ whereas an American will see the same mansion and say ‘someday I’m going to be that guy.’” The difference between the two is huge.

5. Celebrate Profit

Profit is what makes everything else possible. Without it, jobs cannot be created, goods cannot be purchased, taxes cannot be paid, and leisure cannot be pursued. Profit is the remainder after a mutually free exchange of goods: the purchaser has a product that they valued more than their money and the seller has an excess that is worth more than the cost of the good they sold.

Elected officials and bureaucrats have no product to sell nor any services to provide, without there first being individuals and companies engaging in economic activity.

Even if income redistribution worked, profit has to be made first.




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