“You sit here in Europe, in your cushy middle-class chairs — I’m serious about this,” Brook tells an obviously smug college student. “And you wanna judge the African, or let’s take the Chinese cause that’s… you know an Apple, or an Indonesian so-called ‘sweatshop’ or whatever, and you wanna tell me that two bucks a day is not a dramatic improvement in their life?” he said. “It is.”
“And there’s no way for them to get to the point to be as rich is you are, unless they go through that phase,” he continued. “And if you deny them the ability to make two bucks a day, by insisting the companies pay four, and therefore they withdraw completely from the market.”
Then he held his iPhone aloft.
“Because you know what?” he continued. “I’m not paying 600 bucks for this. I’ll pay 300 (bucks). And if I stop buying this, who suffers? That Chinese kid, who’s right now making, whatever, three bucks a day or whatever. Right? And his alternative is to go back to the farm and you know what they did on the farms? Forty years ago and the Chinese were all producing agriculture they were dying of starvation. Forty to 60 million Chinese died of starvation under Mao. Suddenly you’ve given them opportunity to actually attain middle-classhood, to learn a skill, to have a profession, to make money to make themselves into something.”
And then he dropped a truth bomb about who’s really behind this socialist rhetoric.
“And by the way, the Chinese never complain about how much they’re being paid. You guys complain. We complain in the West. Because yes, to our middle-class comfy lives that seems ridiculous. But that’s cause you’ve never lived in real poverty.”
Just look at that college kid. He got smacked down big-time, and smacked down by one of the best. Before he became head of the Rand Institute, the Israeli-born Brook was a finance professor at Santa Clara University in California, who’d earned his MBA and PhD degrees in finance at the University of Texas.
Before that, he was a sergeant in military intelligence in the Israeli army. And to top it all off, he was born on a socialist kibbutz, to parents who believed in socialism.
He knows the drill in other words.
And every word Brook was trying to get through to these kids was true, and what much of the West doesn’t want to acknowledge, despite the obvious success of the system that made it wealthy.
Companies don’t pay wages because they are forced to. They pay them because that’s the agreed-upon rate in a capitalist transaction, that allows those same companies to sell their goods in a market at a price consumers are willing to pay.
It’s capitalism, and it’s what makes the commercial world go ’round, no matter how much the liberals might want to deny it.
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