Noteworthy interview: Dr. Joyce Appleby

Reason TV's Ted Balaker recently conducted a noteworthy interview with historian and UCLA Professor Emerita Dr. Joyce Appleby.

In it, she discusses the fact that capitalism cannot help but create economic progress, which is an observation first made by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter (see here and here).

She also contrasts this forward-moving dynamism of capitalism with the incorrect and damaging zero-sum mentality. This is a very important distinction and one we have written about previously, for example here and here.

We would take exception to one sentiment expressed in the interview, in which Professor Appleby states that "income inequality" is terrible but that it can be fixed with "political will."

We have argued previously that being upset about someone else's income is linked to the zero-sum error (see for example our previous post entitled "Complaining about hedge fund managers and their paychecks"). The existence of people making a lot more money does not decrease my opportunity to improve my own paycheck, and can actually increase my opportunity to do so.

We certainly do not believe that political interference is necessary to regulate "income inequality," any more than we believe that political interference is necessary to ensure that nobody gives their children birthday presents that are more expensive than what other parents are giving their children.

Setting that one sentence aside, however, we heartily recommend investors watch the interview with Joyce Appleby and take to heart her insightful observations about the positive aspects of capitalism. We wish her continued success with her efforts to communicate that message through her writing and her work.

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