Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently railed against billionaires in America, which didn’t sit well with The Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, who called it a veiled attempt at more government control in business.
During a discussion with author Ta-Nehisi Coates on Martin Luther King Day, Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., claimed: “No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars.”
So Shapiro argues in a piece for The National Interest that Ocasio-Cortez believes capitalism simply unlocks the ability for successful business leaders to steal as much as they want, whenever they want.
“In her view, successful businesspeople simply exploit their workers while maximizing their profits,” Shapiro writes.
Ocasio-Cortez says corporate leaders “sat on a couch while thousands of people were paid modern-day slave wages and, in some cases, real modern-day slavery,” which the host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” calls “nonsense” because “voluntary exchange of labor for wages is, as stated, voluntary.”
And if a company refuses to pay market value wages to its workers, Shapiro notes those companies run the risk of watching their workers walk away.
It is a patent violation of free market principles to utilize force in order to compel someone to work for you; blaming the free market for coercion is like blaming free speech for censorship. Exploitation in labor markets is typically accompanied by government subsidies, regulation, and interventionism.
Shapiro then goes on to rip Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion major companies like Amazon turning into worker cooperatives because all that would do is turn those very workers into capitalists who would “have to make decisions to make the business competitive.”
In fact, most companies begin with a few workers who pool their capital and labor: Facebook, for example, handed out stock options to employees, resulting in a $23 billion valuation for its initial employees when the company went public. Does that make those workers evil capitalists?
In his own comment on Shapiro’s piece, Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff says the problem for Ocasio-Cortez “is that she ‘learned’ economics at a U.S. university. The larger problem is that voters are just as ignorant about economics as she is!”
Which really just means that Ocasio-Cortez wants full government control, Shapiro argues. She tries to say capitalists are leeches feeding off labor, but the value of labor is set by the market.
Consumers determine the value of products; producers do not. The diffuse informational system of the free market, which rewards the power of entrepreneurship, rather than punishing it, creates prosperity; top-down control creates poverty. In fact, the greatest guarantee of the sort of poverty AOC decries is the destruction of the same system she decries.
In Shapiro’s closing statement he attacks Ocasio-Cortez’s claim during her discussion that “the government is us.”
In AOC’s world, we have no rights — we have only our role as members of a collective controlled by those who agree with her. And that is exploitation and tyranny.
It seems like Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t fully understand the concepts that she is so set on changing.