I get so enraged when I see my newsfeed cluttered with obvious misinformation that is clearly aimed at convincing uninformed people to support a bullshit ideology. The one that enraged me this week was this propaganda that suggests why capitalism is inefficient.
Why does shit like this bother me? Because revolutions are won by spreading philosophy and ideology - whether such philosophies are morally justifiable or not. You ever hear that saying "the pen is mightier than the sword"? That shit ain't false. Hitler didn't rise to power by pure force (in fact, his last attempt at taking power by force was a complete failure, see Beer Hull Putsch). Hitler got his way by getting people to buy into his game plan through writing (Mein Kampf) and giving speeches throughout Germany. Same could be said about Lenin, who has dozens of books full of pamphlets, newsletters, and journals that he wrote throughout his life explaining his philosophy and agenda. And Ho Chi Minh, and Ayatollah Khomeini, and Karl Marx, and even the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. It's no coincidence that these guys were jailed, exiled, and/or considered blasphemous by their respective countries.
So being a firm believer in capitalism rational person, seeing anti-capitalistic propaganda through the manipulation of facts and information brings me great disappointment. It tells me one of two things - Either the person spreading such information is too lazy to do their own due diligence, or the person knows that such information is false/exaggerated/misleading and shared it anyway to further their own personal agenda.
If you happen to fall into the first group, fear not! I have three simple steps that demonstrate how to research information before you spread it like a mindless chimp. First, question the information at hand. Was Nikola Tesla really impoverished and in debt? And if so, why? So I will begin by asking the question: How much money did Nikola Tesla make throughout his life?
Second, we have to find the answer to this question. An easy way to do so is to search the internet. If you have the ability to pollute innocent minds by sharing misleading information on Facebook, then you must have access to the Internet. So go right ahead and pull up your web browsing program on your phone/tablet/computer. Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and Opera are popular programs for web browsing. After opening the web browser, type "www.google.com" into the web address bar like so.
Lastly, after Google has loaded, type the question into the search bar, like this:
And poof! We have an array of resources to answer our question.
Let's go ahead and take a look at the first one.
Well, would you look at that? It turns out that when taking into account inflation by today's money standards, that Nikola Tesla made millions of dollars in a time when America was the most economically free in its history. Furthermore, Tesla could have made hundreds of millions of dollars had he been more confident in his work and careful with his patents. But you know what? Not sure if I trust a website called "Celebrity Net Worth". So let's be generous and take a look at Tesla Universe, a Tesla-biased website devoted to the history of Nikola Tesla.
$25,000 + $50,000 = $75,000, and according to CPI inflation calculator (which is a generous calculation, because it only dates back to 1913, so the money is probably worth more than the calculation given), that would be approximately $1,800,000 in today's money.
$150,000 = Approximately $3,600,000 - Giving Tesla a total net worth of $5,400,000 not including salaries and money earned from other work. So already we can see that the example made out of Tesla in the original graphic is complete bullshit, because clearly Tesla did in fact make a fortune off of his work.
So Tesla borrowed $100,000 for one project and used it on another, which it not only dishonest and deceitful, but also could have put him in debt. On top of that, he was constantly in court battling lawsuits due to his inability to make good on his debt, which the graphics below will further illustrate Tesla's problematic spending habits.
So there you have it. The reason why Tesla died impoverished and in debt was due to investing borrowed money, as well as his own personal wealth, into expensive personal projects, which failed miserably. This was on top of his lavish, expensive lifestyle, which he continued despite being broke. Tesla may have been more brilliant than Thomas Edison and Henry Ford on a scientific level. But on a financial level? He was like a neanderthal with Down's in comparison to Edison and Ford. Which is tragic, because I love me some Tesla, and I think that his contributions to humanity are rivaled by few. It's sad that he had to die in debt and impov- Wait, what's that?
Well that sure is interesting - Westinghouse actually paid Tesla a reasonable-living wage ($2,204 in today's money, a decent amount of money for someone with no children or family to raise) each month, and covered his housing up until his death. Anyone can live a decent life off of $26,448 annually without having to worry about housing, right? I guess he did have debt to pay off, but as I documented, his debts were due to his own poor financial risks that never paid off, coupled with ridiculous spending habits. It's not like people forced Tesla to take out loans that he wouldn't be able to pay back. Unlike in today's America, where Americans are burdened with debt as soon as they pop out of the womb. Which brings me to my next point.
America today is not what I would consider capitalistic, which also makes the original graphic misleading because it suggests that Paris Hilton attained her wealth in a free market society, which is simply not true. A society that takes money from people and gives it to other people in the form of business subsidies, bailouts, health insurance, welfare, and education; and forces banks to give out loans against their will; and tells business owners and corporations how to operate their business and pay their employees, is far from capitalistic.
Also, to dismiss Hilton's financial success due to a lack of talent is completely absurd. Sure, Hilston's name, fame, looks, and family connections gave her a head start, giving her a generous advantage over the majority of Americans. But who's to say that she didn't learn a thing or two about business and marketing from her family? It's not her fault that she was born into a life of fortune and privilege. She clearly knows how to exploit her image to make money through product endorsements, which makes her valuable. If Paris Hilton couldn't sell products, then companies would not use her name and image to brand their products. That's like hating LeBron James for being good at basketball simply because he is tall and athletic. Well, no shit? If anyone with a hint of intelligence were born with his genetics, they would probably work hard to become a professional athlete as well.
So to sum things up: Talented people like Tesla do in fact create wealth in capitalistic societies, Paris Hilton clearly has business smarts and value if she is able to sell billions of dollars worth of products, and today's America is far from capitalistic, and will likely become less capitalistic if people continue to spread nonsense like the graphic discussed in this article. All I ask is that if you think capitalism is such a bad idea, at least support your argument with concrete evidence and facts, instead of inaccuracies, bullshits, lies, and exaggerations.