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by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist

Businessman and adventurer-turned-philanthropist, Dick Smith, ever-hungry for some publicity, is now proclaiming his generosity by exhorting other wealthy people to do the same. His current targets are the “Greedy Bankers”. Greedy bankers are the villains-of-the-month. They may or may not be overpaid; it is not for me or Dick or anyone but the shareholders and directors of the banks to say. If these bank executives are overpaid (and they may well be), the market, competition and common sense will sort it out in due course. Funny though how the hugely wealthy sports stars and entertainers escape the wrath heaped on the Greedy Bankers: why don’t we hear about Greedy Golfers or Overpaid Film Stars?

“Giving it all away” is quite in vogue for multi-millionaires and billionaires. It is seen by the popular press as a good thing to do.

“Giving something back” is also a fashionable expression and practice. “Giving something back” seems to smack of some ill-gotten gain, like a child who has taken the toy of another and whose mother, rightfully, requires the child to “give it back” — to the child-owner. Or the finder of a lost wallet seeks to “give it back” to the rightful owner — an act of a good neighbour and honest citizen.

Being appreciative of the skill and intelligence with which one is endowed, some luck even, and the good fortune to live in a society in which opportunity is offered and one’s enterprise is allowed to flourish is a part of being an empathetic human. Giving to those less fortunate is generous and noble. Philanthropy and generosity gives the giver as much joy as it gives the recipient. It should not be an act of sacrifice but one of rational self-interest. Altruism, though much praised by priests of religion and social-equity, is not a noble thing but an act of self-denial. Ayn Rand in her book The Virtue of Selfishness explains this well.

Trying to shame those who don’t publicly and flamboyantly give their money away is a low act, even if they are the currently-out-of-favour Greedy Bankers. Generosity and philanthropy is a personal and private thing. So is “Capital Preservation”.

Capital creation is hard enough for most people. Capital Preservation may be even harder. Long term capital preservation is a noble goal. Capital, combined with enterprise and energy, creates opportunities, jobs, products and services. We are, most of us, Capitalists in some way. If we own a car or a house, some shares or bank account, each of us is a Capitalist. Capitalism is about owning one’s life and the products of that life. Capitalism, despite the bad press it gets, is moral and ethical.

If there was as much public acclaim for Capital Preservation as there is for Capital Dissipation we would all be better off. Capital, preserved and re-invested, brings benefits at least as much as capital dispersed in philanthropy.

If Popular Dick were President of the People’s Republic of Smith he would probably make it mandatory to not only pay all the tax you possibly could, but to also pay a “Philanthropy Contribution” another tax by another name. It could be called a “Compulsory Tithe”. Not sure who would manage this Mandatory Charity Contribution … a Department for Coercive Charity with guess who as Minister?

Each of us own our life and the morally and legally acquired products of our life. Our life and what flows from it is our “Capital”. It is ours to spend, to keep, to give away as we choose. Each of us has different needs, goals and ways to live. Celebrity Philanthropist Dick is doing it his way. I just wish he would keep it to himself and not try to tell others how to live and give. Buy another helicopter, Dick, or another Beach House or Farm, or give it away — whatever you choose to do. It’s your money! Enjoy it! Please encourage others to do the same. Even become a Celebrity Capital Preservationist.

(in order of appearance on
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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