Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The legend of infinite wealth

In the introduction for the game Borderlands, narrator Marcus Kincaid shares the legend of the vault, which he says contains alien technology, power and infinite wealth.

This idea stuck out to me, that a tangible vault could contain an unlimited supply of gold and jewels or items that could be redeemed for an unrestrained amount of wealth. On it's face it was impossible. The concept clearly came from puffery and careless exaggeration.

Yet, there are occasional left wing demands that assume the government, wealthy individuals or large corporations have somehow cracked the code on infinite wealth because they are "rich."

Right now union activists are making a show of demanding that McDonald's pays all of it's workers $15 an hour or more. The idea is that the the McDonald's corporation is "rich" and therefore can pay its workers any amount of money they dream of.

Wealthy Americans, we are told, can afford to pay higher taxes because they are "rich" and will not miss the money, as if the pool of money they each possess is bottomless.

The government itself is seen as a bottomless well that should be increasing welfare payments, social security checks, teacher salaries, the number of cushy government jobs, public parks, forgive student loans and provide every medical procedure anyone wants for no additional cost.

While being wealthy is a real concept, no one has infinite wealth. While there will still be times when it is justified to increase wages, taxes and government programs all of these things will come at a cost to someone. That always needs to be considered a factor, but sadly, it is not.

1 comment:

  1. You graze over the most important theoretical problem with the concept of infinite wealth:

    By definition, anything infinite is worthless. There are a few caveats, but in general..