Irish Liberty Forum

So what are millionaires good for?

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Brian at Samizdata provides a neat explanation of one of the roles played by millionaires, in response to the news of an amazing new invention, a gravity-defying recliner:

The millionaires will decide whether they think this is a cool idea. If they decide that it is, some of them will buy it, thus paying for about an eighth of the research and development costs. If the ones that buy it like it, more millionaires will buy it, thus paying for another quarter of the R and D. Many more chairs will then be made, for sale at a rather lower price, slightly better. Pretty soon, we’ll all be able to buy them, either at Ikea or at Curry’s, for £99.99 a pop, and half a decade later for £34.99, with additional features that the early adopter millionaires never dreamed of.

This is just one of the many ways in which the well-off contribute to the lives of everyone else. Of course, refuting the politics of envy and class warfare is one of the primary tasks facing libertarians. I think the sort of simple reasoning given above is probably going to prove our most effective debating method.

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Written by Graham

February 7, 2008 at 10:48 am

Posted in economics, technology

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