In response to Burr Deming's
Creating Jobs: The Talented Mr Romney
Adam Smith's invisible hand raises the tide. As to whether your own boat floats or is swamped by larger vessels is a combination of good luck, brains, and diligence. It's your boat and it's every boat for himself.
Mitt Romney did not screw over anyone, at least not on purpose. Just as he did not create any jobs on purpose. Destroying jobs, creating jobs, neither was Mitt Romney's aim. Jobs were not his job. Mitt's job was to create a profit, no matter who was hurt, no matter who happened to be helped along the way.
What is special about being a so-called job creator?
Republicans still sometimes elect people with little to no business experience even over others who do have it. It's clearly not an essential quality to the very people who trumpet it. In fact, most of the support for Romney has nothing to do with his business experience, but instead with getting rid of Obama. Otherwise, the likes of Perry and Santorum would never have had the lead over him.
More importantly, the label of "job creator" doesn't come with details: How were the jobs created? How long did it take? Who else deserves credit? Why were jobs created? How much money did they pay? How long did they last? Were jobs destroyed as well? Can the methods by which one created jobs be replicated today?
In any case, the only special knowledge a job creator brings to the table concerns his specific industry. Even then, a president can simply surround himself with people who are knowledgeable where he is ignorant. Romney would have to do the same.
The idea of a job creator--a sort of savior--hides a pretty important component of job creation: demand. Without it, there is no profit; without profit, there are no jobs. Therefore, insofar as I fuel demand, I am a job creator as well. It may not be my intent to create jobs with my purchases, but that is fine; it was not Romney's intent to create them either. Such benefits were incidental to his self-interested pursuit of profit.
I already miss the days when people simply said that they have business experience. Now we have to deal with the myth of the job creator, a wise, conservative hero who acts alone and without altruistic motives but expects our praise and admiration anyway.
But perhaps Romney deserves a round of applause for his work. What is the sound of one invisible hand clapping?
Ryan writes for his own site, where wisdom is intentional and applause is robust, two-handed, and deserved.
Please visit Secular Ethics.
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