… is from page 2 of Tyler Cowen’s excellent 2019 book Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero:
“Meeting payroll,” to invoke a now old-fashioned phrase, is nothing less than a heroic act. Someone or some group put in the hard work and thought up the innovations required to create a company from scratch – I know it’s easy enough to take this for granted if you aren’t the one who did it.
DBx: Absolutely true. And the fact that no entrepreneur today built the infrastructure that nearly always makes the specific form of his or her business possible – infrastructure that also ensures that the value of that business’s outputs is higher than it would be otherwise – does nothing to diminish the reality that the profits earned by successful entrepreneurs reflect only the additional prosperity that each creates for his or her fellow human beings. None of this prosperity would exist absent entrepreneurial creativity and effort.
To regard entrepreneurial profit as created by society, and the entrepreneur as merely the lucky individual upon whom entrepreneurial profit fell, is a dangerous yet common error.