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Saturday, January 17, 2004
People before happiness!

The ASI's Alex Singleton picks up on a left-wing stance that has long amused me: the claim of the socialists that, unlike their opponents, they believe in "people before profits". Talk of false dichotomy doesn't even begin to cover this sort of thinking. As Alex notes:

[P]rofits enable businesses to invest and expand, increasing a country's wealth, employing people in better jobs, defeating poverty and improving the population's standard of living. But those who talk of 'people before profits' want us to believe that the profit motive is immoral, putting people's lives at risk.

... When a business seek profits, they have to provide the quality of goods or services that people want - otherwise they will be put out of business by those who can provide the goods or services better. The profit motive, far from being something that harms a society, is something that benefits it.

Profit is the only thing that makes any economic transaction worthwhile, the only thing that allows each of us a better standard of living - through buying our food, homes, clothes and entertainment - than if we were to make everything for ourselves. So talking of profit as if it were an assault on people is as ridiculous as a slogan like "People before education" or "People before love". That the left continues to chant it shows only that they lack the most basic understanding of the case for the free economy.

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