Making money solves most problems, and in Ireland today,
Plenty of men are making plenty of money. The only reasonable response
Is a cry of ‘Well done.’ Yet instead we are hearing complaints
That too many Irish are now making too much money. We are hearing
Accusations of greed, and criticism about pressure. Why?
Because there are people who are envious, mean-spirited, and
Incapable. And when they see other people enchanted with making
Money, they can only hiss and begrudge. One could say their complaints
Are pettiness and ought to be ignored.
But I believe it is more than just begrudgery. And I believe there
Is danger. For, although there is no more virtuous activity than making
Money, even the Irishmen who do it best do not seem to understand
Why it is such a good thing.
Certainly they know that making money makes their life better.
But they have no understanding of the morality of what they are doing.
You can hear their uncertainty when they talk about their work. An
Industrialist says he has been ‘lucky’ and points to how many jobs his
Industry has created: but wealth is never built by luck, it is built by
Brains. And the point of industry is profit.
You know a man understands the morality of money when he
Says, ‘I had the idea for this factory. I took the risk, put in the long
hours to make it work. And every year, I intend to get more productivity
Out of every worker, and deliver more profit to myself. And I love it.’
Yes, of course such a man will create employment, will have a
Healthy effect on local life. But none of this is the point. He is making
Money through trade: that is virtuous.
Trade is the means by which man gets what he wants, freely and
Without coercion. It is the free exercise of an individual’s judgment in
Pursuit of whatever he values.
What the begrudgers say is, ‘He has plenty’ never ‘earns plenty’
As though the wealth just existed by chance, ‘so we must redistribute
It’. That is greed. And the danger of the capitalists’ ignorance of their
Virtue lies just there: they do not understand that to capitulate to redistribution
A man’s money is a man’s liberty.
When the State controls a man’s money, it controls the man. That
Is why the liberty of citizens rests in many people having lots of money.
When private citizens have money, they must use it wisely, or lose it to
More clever citizens, in whose hands the stuff will be better used.
When the State has money, it is used for political purposes.
Money in their hands produces nothing. In private hands, it produces
Goods, services, jobs, decent houses, healthy teeth, well-educated children,
Safer cars, and all the other things that make life agreeable.
It also produces, around the fringes, blondes, Armani suits, and
Rolex watches. And while those may be irritating, they are never compulsory.
The meat and potatoes are work, productivity, creativity, investment,
And profit, Irishmen shaping their lives through their own work
With their own money. Why begrudge them a blonde and a Hermes tie?