Watching all the protests bubbling up under the banner of “Occupy Wall Street” has been an emotional experience. I do not know whether to laugh or cry. These protesters believe in such terms as equality and wealth redistribution and believe that if only Wall Street would share their wealth and resources, everyone would live happily ever after.
My bemusement stems from the misguided ignorance of how resources get allocated. Resources do not reside at an address because some evil organization hoards them. They reside because the people in the organization have the skills to attract and manage resources so as to accumulate more and more. A wise person noted this years ago when s/he opined, “If you divided all the wealth in this planet equally to everyone, within five years 80% of the wealth would be controlled by 20% of the population.”
The address for wealth is Skill Street not Wall Street.
Think about this. Have you ever seen lottery winners or young professional athletes come into great sums of wealth, only to blow it within five years? Have you ever noticed a relative or friend blow an inheritance? Conversely, how many Donald Trumps have you seen who go back and forth between wealth and financial failure?
And it’s not just the fact that many wealthy people started with wealth. Former New Jersey Senator and Governor John Corzine grew wealthy running Goldman Sachs into financial ruin. He was terminated for lacking the skills to create wealth. This week he proved it again by leading his latest venture into bankruptcy and again losing millions in the process. It’s not where you start that is critical; it’s what skills you possess that make the difference.
The sad part of watching these wealth redistributors occupying the wrong street is that they have their goals right in front of them, and they don’t see it. This country has the greatest track record in the world of wealth redistribution. TheUSmarket driven economy has produced more income mobility by individuals than any planned economy ever dreamed of creating. More people have moved from the bottom 20% to the top 20% than any other country in the planet’s history, and more people have moved downward as well. And all this happened voluntarily without the use of force. The hidden forces of market opportunity, discipline, and voluntary exchange allows this movement to happen.
All these protesters need to do is move their tents over to Skill Street, Anytown, USA. Skill Street is bordered by Opportunity Boulevardon the north and The Extra Mile Drive on the south. It’s never crowded if you head south to go home. A dark alley known as Risk Wayconnects Skill Streetto Opportunity Boulevard. Dream Lane is to the east and Persistance Parkwayis just west of Skill Street. Skill Street has such shops as Og Mandino’s University of Success, a self administered program requiring no degree. Robin Sharma has a storefront called the Leader Without a Title self improvement center. John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success building houses his life coaching institute. My favorite is the non denominational counseling center called Golden Rule Training Center. These stores offer a wealth of information and they are willing to share with anyone. What a great place to pitch your tent!
As Jesus reminded us in Matthew Chapter 25 in his parable of the talents, everyone is given talents by his Creator. More importantly, our Master expects us to use those talents to a productive end. The choice of developing your own God given talents and skills is really up to you, and your choice has consequences. Choose wisely. I hope to see you all at theSkill Streetgrand opening of PRO356 Personal Empowerment Center.