Hating those who are successful and blaming them for the lack of success of others, has become a disturbing trend, especially among young people. I think part of the problem is the fact that many have subscribed to the false notion that if you work hard you will succeed. This is a lie that has been repeated so much that most don’t even question it.
This causes many people, who do work hard, to compare their lifestyle and earnings with those who they perceive as working less hard, and who nonetheless get to live lavish lifestyles.
The premise is wrong though. Success, and how much money you make, has nothing to do with how hard you work, nor should it. It is the amount of value that you provide to others that determines how big of a reward you will receive from society. You can work really hard at something that no one needs or cares about, or you can figure out a way to provide something that will improve the lives of millions, without breaking a sweat. Many successful people do work hard, but it’s what they are working on that’s important.
Too much emphasis is put on the work that goes in and not enough on the actual results of that work. The image below is a great example of this way of thinking.
This image has been making the rounds via social media lately. But notice that the image excludes the amount of value that each individual is responsible for providing to others. It also leaves out how replaceable the person is. The CEO is responsible for running an operation that provides valuable services to thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people, while the minimum wage earner, while working hard, is performing a very simple task. Almost anyone can be trained to replace that minimum wage earner, while it is a much tougher task to find someone to take on the responsibilities of that CEO that people love to hate.
When I was a teenager I used to put away carts at a Walmart. I also worked as a dish washer at a restaurant. But as a software engineer I provide much more value because I’m a bigger contributor to the value that my employer provides to thousands of other people. In a capitalist society, if you want more you have to give more. If you’ve been earning minimum wage for five, ten years, it’s because you have not increased your value.
I could have decided to continue washing dishes for the rest of my life, but I chose instead to become a more valuable person, and I plan to become more valuable still. Only then can I expect my life to improve; by helping to improve the lives of others. That’s what capitalism is about.
Government is force. Capitalism is freedom. When you truly provide something of value, there is no force necessary. A voluntary exchange of value takes place: money on one side, and a product or service on the other.
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