I was listening again to the Hillsdale University’s Constitution course today. Once again, this quote stood out to me:
It’s not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. Adam Smith/Wealth of Nations
No butcher is working to feed you or me. He is working to feed himself – to feed his family – to provide a home for his family. We all work to provide a service to another (in some form) but for the betterment of ourselves and our families, not necessarily to the betterment of the one we might be serving. In order to provide for ourselves, we provide a good or a service to another. And we need to provide a product or a service that someone else wants and is willing to pay for.
When we provide for ourselves, we do our community a favor. We are not on the community’s dole and we can sell a product to our neighbors that will, because they are willing to pay for it and have a need for it, better their lives, as well.
So the AFL-CIO member in Detroit is not building that car for you or me. He’s building it for himself. He’s bringing home a pay check for doing his job and some one of us will eventually go out to buy that car that he’s had a hand in building. My brother-the-socialist, works for the railroad. He’s in a union and brings home a nice paycheck. His job is to make sure that the engines on the trains run. Those trains bring oil, coal, food and other commodities to markets. If those trains don’t run, we don’t get the products or we will get them at a much higher price.
As Adam Smith would say, because we work to provide for our own self interests, it makes a harmonious society.