Fictional hedge fund supervisor Bobby “Axe” Axelrod delivered his personal variation of Gordon Gekko’s well-known “greed is nice” monologue on this week’s Billions.
In so doing, it revealed extra than simply Axe’s ruthlessness. It proved that his concept of what capitalism is, just isn’t the identical capitalist idea of economics supported by Adam Smith or Milton Friedman and lauded by conservatives and libertarians.
Within the episode, Beg, Bribe and Bully, Axe does all three plus a fourth: blackmail. After making an attempt to construct a crypto-mining operation within the dorm that causes the complete campus and city to blackout, Axe’s son Gordie faces expulsion. Axe involves the rescue, first by making an attempt to repay the headmaster after which resorting to blackmail to maintain his son enrolled on the prep college.
Whereas forcing Headmaster Kessler to cave, he calls for the chance to revive his son’s repute by chatting with the complete scholar physique.
“My son wasn’t pulling a prank. He was making an attempt to earn. And if he broke the varsity’s code, it is as a result of the code is fallacious,” Axe tells them. “It requested him to go in opposition to the DNA which is telling every of you to be grasping, sure be hungry. Subjugate and conquer. Trigger that’s who we’re. That’s what we’re.”
He continued, “Capitalism harnesses that higher than every other financial mannequin on earth. All the pieces we’ve got is due to capitalism. Trigger somebody had an incentive to rise up off his ass, to out invent, to out earn and to subjugate others. Much less succesful, much less clever, much less fortunate to make these capitalistic goals come true.”
Axe’s view that capitalism is about conquering others is the very caricature of capitalism continually put ahead by liberals and socialists.
Actual capitalism advantages society as a result of it requires companies present one thing of worth and transactions depend on voluntary exchanges. Adam Smith’s philosophy of free markets boiled right down to the concept that when folks act out of self-interest, they’ll present issues of worth to others in change for cash (Smith cited a butcher, brewer and baker). Individuals are rewarded with wealth by offering what others want or need.
In an effort to win, Axe cheats. He bribes folks, or pays them off. There isn’t a morality in his quest for wealth.
Whereas there could also be actual folks like him, that doesn’t imply they’re true capitalists.
“Capitalism (at the very least in its free-market, laissez faire excellent) is a system of the voluntary change of products and providers in the absence of bodily coercion, theft, compulsion or fraud, predicated upon the basic proper to personal and accumulate property,” Antony Sammeroff wrote at Mises.org. [Emphasis added]
Absence of coercion, theft, compulsion and fraud. That’s the important thing distinction between capitalism value defending, and its portrayal on tv exhibits like Billions, to not point out films and anti-capitalist political rhetoric.
Additionally this week on Billions, Taylor Mason and her lieutenant Sara Hammon butted heads over a fossil gasoline divestment. Collectively they satisfied a university chancellor and his board of trustees to divest from fossil fuels with out it wanting like college students pressured him to do it. Nonetheless, when Sara argued the agency ought to make a cope with the oil corporations being divested from (to generate profits on either side of the commerce), Taylor refused saying “It’s not who we’re. Or who I wish to be.”
Taylor’s refusal results in Axe’s group making that deal and the cash. Infuriated, Sara quits.