"Defoe’s Crusoe makes a point abundantly clear: The wealth creator on that island is HIM." Amber Pawlik

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Daniel Defoe's Response to Obama: Robinson Crusoe

Obama’s recent comment that business owners “didn’t build that; someone helped them,” while an outrageous insult to business owners, was such a jaw dropping confession of what he really believes that I am grateful he said it. It has been great to see the enormous response from Americans, who have said: No, it is not the government that helped people; many, many people have made astounding contributions that were 100% the product of their ability and skill.  

More, his statement—and the reaction—has highlighted an important, if not the most important, political and economic point: wealth creation is the product of private individuals. I emphasize “individual.” Individual people come up with an idea, then grow it into a full-fledged usable product that can be consumed by many. Thomas Edison – started what is now GE. Alexander Graham Bell – started what is now AT&T. Steve Jobs – started Apple. It is the contributions from men like these that Western civilization is so great. It is not natural resources, cheap government loans, or—absurd as it sounds, but it has been argued—government welfare that drives progress or economic prosperity. It is human talent.  

Daniel Defoe gave his response to Obama, or rather the Obama’s of his time, when he wrote his classic, Robinson Crusoe. One of the central points of Robinson Crusoe is economic individualism. Perhaps as a response to the collectivists like Obama of his time, Defoe created a book about a hero who, shipwrecked, finds himself on a deserted island. Throughout the story, Robinson supplies for the needs of his life. The progression he takes is the same as that of a civilization. At first, he uses the guns from the ship to hunt birds and goats. Then, finding fruit growing on the island, he starts to gather and dry fruit. When his gunpowder runs out, he tames the goats and breeds them for milk and food, i.e. farms. All the while, he builds himself shelter, learns carpentry, makes clothes, etc. I enjoyed the part when he was happy he could finally eat stew, as he had a pot, instead of just grilled meat!  

Defoe’s Crusoe makes a point abundantly clear: The wealth creator on that island is HIM. Yes, he DID do it on his own—no one helped him, not even to build him a road! At first, Crusoe hauls supplies from the ship to the island on a canoe, representing how most trade took place, which was by water.  

When Crusoe is first shipwrecked and is gathering supplies from the boat, he finds gold but lets it drop to the bottom of the ocean. This is an important point. Indeed, on the island, gold is of no value. It should be a lesson to mercantilists, who believe in hoarding gold. It is also a lesson that, while economists largely follow prices, interest rates, and other financial metrics, economics is first about human skill.  

My guess is, while at Harvard, Obama did not read Robinson Crusoe. That would have got in the way of the lectures on how society is unfair, the American dream is not possible for minorities and women, and how human nature is depraved.  

Obama is running political ads right now, taking credit (irony!) for allegedly turning the economy around. Not proving or showing that he did but lecturing that he did. That economic measurements show any improvement from 4 years ago is laughable. Can Obama create a good economy? Imagine if Obama ran a company. Instead of embracing his top talent, he sneered at them, “You think you are just so smart, don't you?” Motivational, right? Now project this to his policies as President. Except, he is not a CEO, who must attract talent or suffer in business, but the President, who has the power of force. His statement very much reveals how he will treat the wealth producers in this country.

I wouldn’t want Obama as my boss let alone my President. Obama bared his teeth and showed America what he really stands for. And if he wins again in November, a very clear message will be sent about how Americans desire the direction of the country to go.

Amber Pawlik
July 18, 2012

On ‘Demand Side’ Economics: Why Spending Cannot Improve the Economy but Freedom Can
Amber Pawlik
This article seeks to explain as clear as possible one of the most intellectually difficult economic concepts to grasp: how inflation will destroy an economy. It is meant to give answers to the economics questions many people have today. It covers the basics of economics and then argues against the long held belief, originated by John Maynard Keynes, that stimulus money will jumpstart an economy. It can be considered an Economics 101 and 201 course.

This article is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976. No part may be copied.

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