Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Zero Sum Fallacy

It seems fairly common to view all of life as a zero sum game: all gains by one party are necessarily losses for another. If life gets better for one, another must suffer. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This mindset believed that women getting jobs necessarily took them from men; that the liberation of women is the enslavement of men. This creation of jobs, this liberation of wealth, this increase of freedom means increase in freedom and wealth for all. We are all the richer, healthier, happier for the liberation of women.

This mindset believed that blacks striking off their shackles a full century after the civil war necessarily endangered others; that the liberation of blacks meant the enslavement of whites. This is absurd on its face.

This mindset believes that the best you can hope for is to be the most powerful of a group of mutually shackled slaves, that the best is to be on top of a pile of stinking, fearful, ignorant apes. That you must be constantly vigilant lest those you tread upon rise up and cast you down into their own degradation, taking your place. This mindset would keep us all blind and afraid, lest any new truth or value ruin what precarious peace we have. This is a shameful and pathetic view of the world.

In truth freedom begets freedom and wealth begets wealth. When all are free to reach for their dreams, to achieve their full potential, then all are better off. Each of us is made more free, more wealthy, when freedom and wealth are truly available to all around us. We need not hold one another down; peace and happiness are the result of true freedom and prosperity.

If I lift you into the sky, you will pull me up after and together we will fly.
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