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A well-known chef recently talked about his childhood, and where he got his “communist roots.” He explained how he is passing this on to his children. For example, after his children go trick-or-treating, they are allowed to keep ten pieces of candy, but then the rest is all donated to a homeless shelter. Although this may seem like he is confusing charity and communism, there is something else at play.

Consider, if you were a child out trick-or-treating, (an act in itself that has debatable merit), and you knew that you would only be keeping your ten favorite pieces, how many houses would you go to before you felt you had an adequate selection to choose from? Would you seriously be motivated to continue just for the sake of the “homeless,” who may not be getting enough candy in their diet?

What if it were a cold night?

Remember, this was not their idea to give away their surplus. That is something completely different. If the idea is presented to them and they embrace it, they may keep going. But when giving is mandated. . . not so much.

I know some people who let their children choose ten pieces, and then they pay them $10 to surrender the rest. This is not capitalism, but at least a step closer. If the payment is the same, despite the quantity, what is their motivation?

Some children will do it just for the enjoyment of showing off their adorable costumes or checking out the pumpkin carvings on porches, But after twenty houses, even that novelty has usually worn off. It’s the CANDY that keeps them out all night.

On a related note, a well-known person was on a political talk show advocating a cap on earnings. $200,000 was the suggested limit. They could not imagine anyone needing more. (I can. I have had such years. We used it wisely, including helping out family members, donating generously to charity, being debt free, and saving for a rainy day—that came. But that is beside the point.) The point is if you put a cap on the earnings of anyone or any entity (corporation), you are taking away a key reason for them to produce.

This is not greed. People rarely go into business to give away their profits. When there is a cap on profits, companies rarely exceed it. When companies don’t grow, the whole economy grinds down.

In the first year of the Pilgrim’s miserable existence in America, they lived under a contract in the form of communism. (From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.) Eventually, good men found reasons to avoid doing all they could, and character was sacrificed to a defensive idleness. That winter the pilgrims suffered, many died, and starvation became reality. When they reorganized themselves in the spring, each family was given a section of land and the freedom to do what they could to provide for their own families. There were no limits on production or a requirement to give away a portion of their harvest. Just the motivation to care for their own.

Men found strength they had neglected. They toiled hard. The community prospered, and they found they had surplus to care for widows.

The best of an individual is manifested when they are free to pursue their own interest, and choose what they do with the excess profits.