Reason Magazine, which is just about my favorite publication going today, recently sat down with "20/20" taxpayer/consumer advocate John Stossel. During the interview, Stossel — and his awe-inspiring mustache — aptly articulate his confusion about why people in some circles find it necessary to constantly bash businesses:
This hatred of business — I’m not sure what that’s about. I used to think it was envy, that the college professor is angry that his slightly stupider roommate is making more money than he is because he’s in business. Then you think about the kings and queens of Europe. People didn’t hate them for all their wealth, and their wealth proportionately was vastly greater than now, but they hated the bourgeoisie. They gave them that nasty name. They hated the very people who sold them the things that they needed to make their lives better. What’s that about?
My best guess is that it’s the intuitive reaction that the world is a zero-sum game, that if he makes profit off you, you must’ve lost something. If you don’t study economics, that is how people think. I see why politicians think that way, because that’s how their world works. One wins. Somebody else has to lose. We have a lot of work to do to explain that free commerce doesn’t work that way, that everybody gains.
He also discusses his fondness for free market medicine and school choice, even promoting his web site, stosselintheclassroom.org. Though you may not agree with everything he says (and it’s not entirely G-rated), you can read the transcript of the Reason interview here. At the very least, it should make you think.