Economic Balance versus the Myopia of the Enlighten Elites

One of the advantages in learning strategy is that it helps you parse situations more clearly. In economic situations, we must understand our dual roles as consumers and producers. These roles are two sides of the same coin, complementary opposites in the terms of Sun Tzu, which cannot be separated. Without understanding the necessary balance of these two roles, you cannot understand anything about wealth or poverty. Separating these dual roles is one of the most common mistakes of the "enlightened elites" who are so critical of American culture. In this article, Overselling Capitalism, Professor Barber starts by making the point that capitalism works because it give people a selfish incentive to serve the interests of others, hence the balancing of consuming and producing. However, the professor then goes on to demonstrate the myopia of his enlightened viewpoint by pointing out all the shortcomings of capitalism in providing benefits to the most "needy." The many defects in the professor's analysis are explained by John Tamny on TCS Daily on a point-by-point basis, but the real source of the professor's problem is his attempt to separate consumption (needs) from production (skills) when they cannot be separated. Low production societies create too little value so the people in them are by definition needy. The rewards of capitalism are all earned voluntarily because the system naturally balances production and consumption. Those who produce more can consume more or leverage their wealth by investing it in more production, but the good professor knows better because:
To serve such needs, however, capitalism must once again learn to defer profits and empower the needy as customers.
However, the source of the problem here is not that people are "needy." The problem comes from the other side of the coin. These people have few skills and virtually all are living in societies where they cannot acquire skills. In a reverse of the professor's analysis, almost all of the truly needy live in societies where the needs of the elites are satisfied by coercing everyone else, preventing them from developing assets by and for satisfying each other. If these governments' elites left their people free, these low-skilled/needy would naturally develop their skills as they worked to satisfy the unmet needs all around around them. Of course, in Western societies, our low-skilled/needy have a different problem. They have plenty of opportunities to develop those skills, but, in a rich society, they find various incentives NOT to develop those skills. Often, these incentives are drug and alcohol related but various forms of “help” from the elites perpetuate this lack of learning through a lifetime. Everyone, no matter what their natural abilities, can learn to produce value for others (and live more meaningful and rewarding lives if they are allowed to do so), but politicians, the media, and our educational establishments want to promote a sense of entitlement that says we should all be able to consume without having to produce. Logically, where do the things we consume come from it no one has an incentive to produce them? This is the big question the anti-capitalist viewpoint ignores. What the professor doesn't realize is that he wants to believe that capitalism doesn't work because he wants to serve his OWN self-interest by promoting the rule of enlightened elites of those like, um, himself. These elites obviously care more about the poor because they see consumption as an entitlement while capitalists see it as a reward for producing things that others consume.