Is the economy a zero-sum game? John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market says that it isn’t a zero-sum game.
(WSJ.com) Business is not a zero-sum game struggling over a fixed pie. Instead it grows and makes the total pie larger, creating value for all of its major stakeholders, including employees and communities.
This perspective is key to understanding the great debate between the Left and the Right, socialists and free marketers, statists and individualists. Those on the Left largely believe that the economy is a zero-sum game and thus believe that one person’s gain is another person’s loss. The only way to improve the lot of the impoverished, then, is to take money from the rich and give it to the impoverished. The way to do this is through the government.
The Right will argue, however, that the economy is not a zero-sum game and that free trade is a way in which two people can gain at the expense of no one. Thus, the best way to improve the lot of the impoverished is to simply provide an arena in which free trade can flourish. The only way to do that is to get government out of the picture as much as possible.
Who is right if either side is? And is there a way to reconcile this discord?