In just seven minutes, CEI’s video introduces the millions of individuals who play vital roles in the creation of the pencil. No one person on the face of the earth can make it, but millions of individuals working for their self-interests create a better and more affordable pencil than any one person could have ever imagined. Capitalist Pig founder Jonathan Hoenig introduced the film, driving home the ultimate benefit the free market brings to consumer:
What has the free market done? It’s made a pencil basically, virtually free. If you get a pencil with somebody’s name on it, you can get it for free,”
Hoenig’s remarks centered on the amazing wealth generation of the free-market and the selfish gain at the center of it.
Anyone involved in this movie tonight — whether in the creation, the production, the distribution, the shipment, the delivery, the use of the pencil — everyone is out for him or herself.”
Our culture tells us that working for selfish gain is bad – that making a profit means you’re exploiting someone else. However, the beautiful story of the pencil exposes that idea as false. Millions of people free to pursue their self-interests all contribute to the pencil because they want to gain something, and nobody has to be exploited.
After the screening, CEI President Lawson Bader closed by talking about the importance of narrative in politics today:
If you want a context for the movie it’s as simple as this. It’s the power of story and the power of narrative.”
Story is powerful in politics. Bader says the story that government can guide wealth and labor better than the individual is winning in DC right now, and as a result we see more regulation, subsidies, and taxes. However, just as the free-market guides individuals into natural economic efficiency, the government’s system of artificial rewards and punishments guides people into lobbying for special favors and money from the government. Looking to the government to take care of the individual is dangerous. Thomas Jefferson’s said,
I predict the future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretext of taking care of them.”
Politicians can’t create wealth. Independent people pursuing happiness create industries, jobs, and wealth. Let’s remember that story next time a politician is promising us free stuff.
Watch the video in the player above.