By Diana Erbio –
Would there be any eagerness to join a game of Musical Chairs if there were the same number of chairs as players? Maybe Bernie Sanders and others who like a guaranteed equal outcome would consider that version of the game ideal. I have a feeling the participation rate would dwindle as would any interest in the game.
Children I know have been participants in that type of Musical Chairs game. Why was that version offered? My guess is that those offering that spin on the game wanted to avoid hurt feelings or squabbling. However when I asked the kids if they liked playing the game that way I was told “No, what’s the point?” They did not like it. Young children have no political ideology to sway them. They are a pretty honest bunch when it comes to what they like and don’t like to play. They expressed what I believe is an innate human desire to have a chance for a better opportunity. It’s called hope. If hope is squashed, malaise sets in. Despondency will drain enthusiasm and that is not good for the individual or the collective.
The one chair for all Musical Chairs economic experiment, has been tried on a national level in many countries and it has not worked out well. Currently we can look at Venezuela or Greece to see its failure. In the past the promise of equal outcome for all has led to disastrous results.
The redistribution of wealth game that socialists and communists have set up time and time again does not work because humans do not desire equal outcomes. I contend that we are born with a sense of hope that we can make things better for ourselves and others, and that if the chair is guaranteed; the sense of hope is pulled away, and so too is the desire to be productive. The unwillingness to participate will shrink the economic wealth of that society and sap its energy.
Those who think the redistribution of wealth is the only compassionate way believe there is a limit to the economic wealth that can be grown. But that is flawed thinking. There is not one finite whole that must be divided, and if one person gets more, the other must get less. Free market capitalism is a system that does not limit the wealth that may be grown. Free market capitalism offers hope and an opportunity to a better outcome for all.
Yes, there must be some rules of fairness in capitalism, as in a game of Musical Chairs that leaves one chair out. A chair cannot be pulled from someone as they are about to sit on it. The music cannot be preset to stop only when the preferred player is in front of a chair. Chairs must remain upright and not be knocked over, although leeway for an accidental tip of a chair must be allowed for. If the rules are consistent and enforced even though the outcome is not guaranteed, and although you may not get a chair to sit in every time you play, enthusiasm to participate in the game will keep the game going and will keep the hope alive that a better outcome is there for the taking. A game with a predetermined outcome will encourage players to sit it out and leave little enthusiasm to participate for a chance to better one’s position. As eagerness to participate wanes, so will the game or the economy.