Zero sum game: why some do not grow?

“The Third World, or anti-colonial, view is that the rich nations have gotten rich by taking wealth from the poor nations. It is part of a much larger vision, in which the rich in general have gotten rich by taking from the poor, whether in their own country or elsewhere.

Whatever its factual weaknesses, it is an emotionally powerful vision, to which many people have dedicated their lives, and for which some have even risked their lives.”

Thomas Sowell had to drive 30 miles to see Dinesh D’Souza’s movie 2016. His report on the effort concludes that the movie is Exposing the Real Barack Obama. The movie raises the fundamental question about why people behave and believe and vote as they do.

“It is a much larger story about how millions of Americans came to vote for, and some to idolize, a man whose fundamental beliefs and values are so different from their own.”

The philosophy at issue is that of the zero sum game where nothing is created and what exists is just shuffled around. The powerful get rich and everyone else suffers. It is a fantasy that is woefully ignorant of reality. But it is a fantasy that can be used to excuse one’s own failures.

The philosophy can be seen in the very many catastrophe alarms such as peak oil or population bomb or even in human caused global warming. The problem is that, even with this year’s drought, farming productivity improvements have created increased yields that exceed the record breaking year of 1991. Fracking and new drilling techniques have created vast increases in energy resources. More goods of better quality and never before thought of capabilities and functions are now in use by even the very poor – cell phones are transforming African countries, for instance.

But no, the anti-colonialists as Sowell labels them, do not see these things. Instead all they seem to see is filtered through their personal haze of envy based hatred. That is not the sort of vision that built the U.S.

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