I'm ashamed of myself.
I let it happen again: I fell into a Liberal's trap.
This wasn't a trap sprung and laid to wait my ensnaring. No, this was a web that I weaved because, once again, I didn't think.
I was at work the other day and the subject was pay raises. I made a remark about making sure that I got my Bugatti Veyron when the time came for my raise.
My co-workers knew that the car was expensive, but they didn't know how expensive. I think the figure thrown out was $300K. I emailed out a link to the Wikipedia page
. The Veyron is in fact, $2.6 million US.
Upon seeing this figure, one of my co-workers exclaimed, "This is why I hate rich people. They could do so much good with their money, but instead, they blow it on a car like this."
And that was the trap. I silently agreed. It's not that I agreed with the premise–I didn't–I just couldn't come up with a justification for spending that kind of money on a car.
I thought about arguing that it was a machine engineered down to the very atoms for perfection and performance, but that seemed a weak argument as my co-workers already found little value in the vehicle.
And so I kept quiet to keep the peace. But the situation kept nagging me, and it wasn't until two days later that I had an answer. Sadly, I won't be able to argue this point with those co-workers, but experience, being a harsh teacher, had readied me for any such future occurrences.
As previously stated, there is much craftsmanship in the most expensive car in the world. No one in their right mind, "evil rich bastard" or not, would pay such a price tag for product that did not meet every standard of excellence, both real or imagined.
This means that perfection was demanded (something we here in the States no longer demand) and was achieved. In order to achieve such perfection, it takes a master craftsman; the Veyron was not built by failing sluggards from public school that do not take pride in their work. The fact that the best was demanded in this product means that the producers gave their best effort and expected nothing less from themselves.
I think Steve Jobs said it best when he introduced the iPhone:
Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. One's very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career.
This has to be true of the Veyron. It's the world's most expensive car and for a time, it held the world record for the fastest production road-legal car. This doesn't not happen by chance or happenstance; punching a clock at 0800 and 1700 won't get this job done. As Belle said to Ebenezer Scrooge, it takes a "master passion" to build a product of this class.
The skills required for such a job take a lifetime to hone. This is work of the creme de la creme
. That man should aspire to such a noble goal, defy the odds and make the impossible reality is
the story of mankind, told again and again throughout the ages. For those of us who live in the United States, this is the narrative that our country has been based on; truly, this
is the American Dream.Created Jobs
Perhaps the most pungent response I could have contrived, given the current state of the world's economy, is that by the "rich evil bastard" buying such a car, the "rich evil bastard" has created jobs. Every single one of the jobs that it took to put this car together, from the man engaged in final assembly, to the committees that decided what material to use to the companies sub-contracted to provide those raw materials. By wishing that the "rich" take their money and engage in some sort of philanthropy in an altruistic gesture, my co-workers have simultaneously destroyed all of the jobs that the production of this car have created and have made beggars out of the recipients of such guilt-removing charity.
Is it not better that the Value Proposition be employed instead, that value (the Veyron) should be exchanged for value (the "evil rich bastard's" money)? Does this not make both people in the transaction better people than they otherwise would have been?
They both had to work to provide the appropriate level of value required for such a trade to exist. The act of the creation of value implies that the standard of living was raised for both people in the transaction; something was created out of (seemingly) nothing. This isn't an argument for a Creator; rather, that wealth and the ability to produce a car both required outside input; in essence, this is an argument for Newton's Second Law of Thermodynamics.
I've always argued that the best way to give back to the community is to start a business that creates competitive jobs and attracts top talent. In this way, the business owner raises the standard of living for his employees who in turn raise the standard of living for those they do business with, like the local grocer. As the employees create the products, goods or services sold by the company and the company sells them, the owner's standard of living is raised by the profits created by the work produced by his company which in turns allows the cycle to repeat itself.
I have contended for a long time that there are no big businesses, just small companies that grew.
The other problem with the philanthropy proposal is that it presumes altruism which I do not believe exists. One does not engage in philanthropy if one does not care about his fellow man or seek to profit from apparent altruism. As such, there is always something returned to the philanthropist.
In short, I believe that the most productive, nobel and thus the greatest good an "evil rich bastard" could do is to purchase a Bugatti Veyron instead of simply giving his money away to some ephemeral cause.Originally published at http://conservacorner.livejournal.com/424506.html