J and D's Corner

From the Letters Archive

Not sure why I write these things, most certainly there are few readers who grasp the concept of what money is.  Egged on by our Liberal-In-Chief, though, even the conservative Antelope Valley is rife with anti-success populism and general "business is evil" sentiment.


To:  AV Press
Date: 12/18/2011
Re:  Scrooge McDuck Revisited

The older crowd among us probably remember Scrooge McDuck, Donald’s rich uncle who was, although we didn’t know it at the time, definitely one of the “1%”.   Scrooge kept his money in a city-block size money bin equipped with a diving board from which he would often do half-gainers into a golden sea of cash.

I would venture to say that this cartoon rendering of the rich pretty much matches how the vast majority of Americans view the wealthy:  Hoarders of vast seas of cash money that they are keeping locked up in some money bin so that we the great unwashed masses can’t enjoy it. 

The reality is that while the super-rich certainly can put hands on plenty of cash money when they need or want it, the bulk of their wealth is not Scrooge McDuck type cash being uselessly and non-productively kept away from their fellow Americans, but is instead the value of their ownership of large chunks of various businesses.  If you look at the top 40 richest Americans, virtually all of them are rich because of their large ownership shares in various corporations that provide us, and the world, with real products or services and collectively employ millions of American workers.

It is wrong to view the monetary value of a business, regardless of whose name is on the stock certificate, as being money locked away from the rest of us, because in a very real way the worth of a business is value we all share.  Even though a growing percentage of our citizens appear to exist on various forms of government-supplied money, this “transferred” money doesn’t come out of thin air.  Ultimately all of it derives from productive business commerce in all its forms and without businesses there would be no commerce.

It strikes me that the worst aspect of having so much business-value wealth concentrated in few hands is not so much that it keeps that wealth from the rest of us but that it leads the unsophisticated to believe they don’t have a personal stake in the continued health of American business.  We do, all of us.


John Wilson