There is only a certain amount of wealth in the world, this thinking goes. Economics is a matter of acquiring and allocating, not creating. This was the view of the world’s smartest people, all top philosophers and not stupid people, for many thousands of years before the age of the enlightenment. It still is.

Here is a principle to use in all aspects of economics and policy. When you find a good or service that is in huge demand but the supply is so limited to the point that the price goes up and up, look for the regulation that is causing it. This applies regardless of the sector, whether transportation, gas, education, food, beer, or daycare. There is something in the way that is preventing the market from working as it should. If you look carefully enough, you will find the hand of the state making the mess in question.

Even the richest person, provided the riches comes from mutually beneficial exchange, does not need to give anything “back” to the community, because this person took nothing out of the community. Indeed, the reverse is true: Enterprises give to the community. Their owners take huge risks, and front the money for investment, precisely with the goal of serving others. Their riches are signs that they have achieved their aims.

There is only a certain amount of wealth in the world, this thinking goes. Economics is a matter of acquiring and allocating, not creating. This was the view of the world’s smartest people, all top philosophers and not stupid people, for many thousands of years before the age of the enlightenment. It still is.