Making Money ≠ Working Hard

Wow, Matt Yglesias lays the smack down in this post.  Thank god for it.

…prosperity shouldn’t be stigmatized as ignoble, it should be rather seen as something likely to flow from virtuous behavior. But this equation assumes that morally speaking what matters is the hard work, the discipline, and the prudence. Cutting corners, lying, cheating, or stealing to make a quick buck doesn’t fit the bill…In terms of what it says about your personal virtue, if you’re going to earn your keep identifying and exploiting previously unknown loopholes in the legal framework, you may as well just go out and break the law.

There’s no particular honor and dignity in owning the copyright to Mickey Mouse or Batman, and then spending money lobbying congress for retroactive copyright extensions. A businessman who takes the ideas of initiative, hard work, and individual responsibility seriously would forget all about that nonsense. But the idea is aloft that business executives actually have a moral obligation to spend their days finding ways to engage in profit-maximizing rent-seeking and loophole exploiting.

Read it in full.

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