Does One Person’s Success Require Another Person’s Misfortune?

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Wealth is not a static quantity. If it were a static quantity, it would be true that the prosperity of one person can only come at the expense of someone else. But in a capitalist system, new wealth can be created and increased, through brilliance, innovation, and effort. This statement is proven by the negative: that is, in a capitalist system it must also be true that the total amount of wealth can decrease and evaporate as a result of stupidity, ravenousness, and short-sightedness. The economic catastrophe of the Fall of 2008 has given us a powerful and undeniable proof of the dynamic quality of wealth. The dollars that Bernie Madoff’s clients lost are not hidden somewhere in a drawer. They simply do not exist.