In his commencement speech at Southern New Hampshire University
this morning, Obama - like most commencement speakers - delivered a
call to public service; unlike many, however, he also warned against
the charms of doing what most college graduates set out to do: Make
"In a few minutes, you can take your diploma, walk off this
stage and go chasing after the big house and the large salary and the
nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you
"But I hope you don't. Focusing your life solely on making a
buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And
it will leave you unfulfilled," he told the crowd.
This statement would certainly be true in 18th century European monarchies, in Soviet Russia, in third world Kleptocracies, in Cuba, and in Chavez's Venezuela. Because making money in these environments is a zero-sum game, and the only way to get rich is to loot it from some poor schmuck who is actually creating the value.
But here in America, we (mostly) have this cool system called capitalism. In capitalism, all interactions are based on the voluntary self-interest of the parties involved. This means that one only can "make a buck" by doing something or making something that is of value to another person. And only by successfully serving the needs of a LOT of people does one get really rich.
TJIC's conclusion is wonderful:
Far better that they spend their life
- majoring in political "science"
- working for a meaningless non-profit
- trying to register more people to vote so that the negative-sum game of politics can have more credibility
- helping political partisans redrawn electoral district boundaries in the same negative-sum game of politics
- being a senator, pushing for more regulations and tax increases
That, clearly, is a fulfilling life.
Let the suckers create value.
The best and brightest should just steal it, and move it around
(while taking some portion of it for themselves, and destroying another
portion of it).
Beware of people who try to demonstrate how much they "care" using other peoples' money.