Accuracy in Media

Teen Vogue is once again insisting that the youth of today must strive to overthrow capitalism. This time, it’s because billionaires should not exist. The very fact that they do is a policy failure apparently. 

The analysis is just lightly warmed-over Marxism. There is much agonizing over inequality “ an obscene inequality crisis “ when in fact global inequality has been declining these past few decades. We also get the standard Marxist complaint about the wages of the workers: “structures that favor capital and produce a profit off the back of exploitation.”

The reason this is all only lightly warmed over is that a proper Marxist would use the correct word there, “expropriation”. Not knowing the language of your own theory isn’t a good look after all. 

Once we step outside that theory of course we can understand quite how silly it all is. One example they use is Jeff Bezos. “It’s true that the billionaire class creates jobs and that wages have the potential to drive the economy, but that argument falters when workers barely have enough to survive.”

Well, yes, that driving jobs and wages part. There’s something called the Amazon Effect that central banks have been most interested in. The mere existence of Amazon is responsible for 2% off inflation this past decade. That is, it costs Americans $400 billion a year less to live than it would without Amazon. That’s a pretty big benefit and Americans get it each and every year. Perhaps the process which leads to there being billionaires isn’t actually all that bad then.  In fact, one Nobel Prize winner – in economics, of course – Bill Nordhaus has pointed out that 97% of the benefits of entrepreneurs comes to us as consumers, the actual person driving it, that possible billionaire, is only getting 3% of the value created.

It might be worth our letting them keep the $3 for every $97 we get.  

We can even point out that the solutions aren’t very good. This is one of them “Nicknamed a Robin Hood tax, estimates show just a tiny fee of 10 cents per $100 traded would generate $777 billion over 10 years, with the potential to raise even more, depending on the tax rate set. Targeting high rollers through a tax on financial speculation would have the added benefit of limiting high-frequency trading — a type of algorithmic financial trading that can be risky and unfair in its potential to help the wealthiest rapidly accrue assets and has been blamed in part for flash crashes.” But the people they’re complaining about – they name Musk and Bezos but we can add Buffett and Gates and so on – don’t trade in stocks. They own pieces of a company they run and they don’t trade in and out at all. Taxing stock trading to kill off billionaires when the billionaires to be killed off don’t trade stocks doesn’t do much good.

Teen Vogue tells us that it “educates the influencers of tomorrow” and gains some traction in the female teen audience. The site gains some 4 million visits a month. 

Teen Vogue would do a lot more educating if it were to explain why a system that allows billionaires – that, as they say, policy failure – is also the system which, alone among all those ever tried by humans, actually produces a generally rich society. It’s entirely true that America is not yet perfect but it is the richest large society ever. Capitalism most certainly has its faults but leaving average folks poor isn’t one of them. Something that can be easily proven – the average American is still very much richer than the average citizen of any country that ever tried any form of Marxism. This should be a warning to those advocating any form of Marxism but sadly isn’t.




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