Billionaires are only rarely policy failures
Bashing billionaires is gaining popularity—especially among candidates to be America’s president. Elizabeth Warren wants to take up to 6% of their wealth in tax every year. Bernie Sanders says they “should not exist”. In Britain’s election, too, the super-rich are under fire. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, says that a fair society would contain none.
Left-wingers blasting inequality is nothing new. But the idea that vast personal fortunes are made possible only when government goes wrong is a more novel and serious idea. Facebook and Google dominate online advertising; Warren Buffett likes firms with “moats” that keep rivals out. About a fifth of America’s billionaires made their money in industries in which government capture or market failure is commonplace.
When capitalism functions well, competition whittles profits away for some but also produces them for others as entrepreneurs seize markets from sleepy incumbents. This process creates vast benefits for society. Between 1948 and 2001, innovators captured only 2% of the value they created. Perhaps that is why billionaires are tolerated even by countries with impeccable social-democratic credentials: Sweden and Norway have more billionaires per person than America does.
原文標題：Billionaires are only rarely policy failures
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