1.Big Business Is Evil (Apparently)
As an economist, I'm often forced to engage socialists in debate about the nature of markets and business. For years, all I’ve heard from the left is, “Business (especially big business) is bad! They’re crooked, evil, profit-maximizing, fat-cat capitalists who seek to serve their self-interests, and no one else’s. They are selfish, uncharitable, and shrewd, investors who live luxurious lives at the expense of the rest of us. We are oppressed! We are taken advantage of! Capitalism—capitalists—are the foundation for almost all of the evils in our society.”
Playing ignorant, one might press the radical leftist and say, “What exactly is it about business that’s oppressive?” They usually reply:
“They withhold profits from their workers! The executives do not work near as hard as much we the proletariat. They recline in modern, boujee, offices, and smoke cigars and sip fine scotch, while we are forced to serve them for meagre restitution. It’s corrupt!”
Of course, the radical leftists’ solution is always the same—Tear down the capitalist. Tear down capitalism. Topple western institutions and replace them with a post-modern vision (nightmare) of a centralized utopia where no one earns profit.
The more one investigates, the more one realizes it’s not really the existence of business that the socialist hates, but the free market and capitalist theory. Their never-ending gripe is that the free-market rewards self-serving enterprise and a tenacious work ethic.
To be fair, it’s evident that large corporations are in bed with government, and it’s transparent that lobbyists and self-interests have an incredible influence on the minds of Parliament. That’s why you rarely hear an economist say he is “Pro-business;” instead, he is “Pro free-market.” Nonetheless, though their real economic hatred is free-enterprise, the socialist (probably for strategic reasons), chooses to publicly blame business for many difficulties challenging the country.
But then Pfizer and Moderna emerge from their labs with a Covid vaccine—or two...or three or four or twelve.
In an instant, the socialist’s contention with big business disappears, and he transforms into one of the strongest proponents for private goods (the vaccine) on the planet. Just how zealous are they for everyone to consume Pfizer’s vaccine? Here’s what Randy Boswell said yesterday on Global News:*
“Here’s what the sentiment is: How hard should Canada be pushing unvaccinated citizens to finally get inoculated against COVID-19? We should be pushing them extremely hard. We should be persuading and pressuring vaccine holdouts in every way we can think of — educating, incentivizing, penalizing — short of all-out public shaming or frog-marching them to clinics and forcing needles into their arms.”
So I suppose the socialist’s problem with “Big bad business who does nothing but oppress and couldn’t care if the product they churn out harms their consumers” disappears with Pfizer and Moderna? I guess we should trust those companies 100%? After all, it's unthinkable to suppose those benevolent, selfless, generous, executives at places like Pfizer are making any profit with the sale of vaccines—that would be evil according to the leftist, wouldn’t it?
Oh, you mean they are generating a profit (and a very substantial one at that)? Then why don’t I hear the socialist screaming at the top of his lungs? What, after all, could be more evil than profiting off of a pandemic?
When an electrical company raises variable rates for a kilowatt-hour of electricity during peak demand, the leftist complains and calls it “price-gouging.” When the oil company raises prices at the pumps during seasons when OPEC cuts oil supply, the socialist calls businesses like Husky or Birchcliff selfish and heartless. And when grocery stores raise their prices to combat supply shortages, the progressive calls it a demonstrable display of greed.
But when Pfizer secures hundreds of millions of contracts for their vaccine with governments around the world, when Moderna and other companies are insulated from all lawsuits that arise from “complications as a consequence of the vaccine,” and when those same companies are clearly married to corrupted government, then the socialist is happy to place blind trust in big-business while he threateningly orders you and I as Canadians,
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* See the Op-Ed by Randy Boswell here