Edited excerpt from The Real Public Service by Dr. Thomas Sowell:
Do you want to be of some use and service to your fellow human beings? Then let your fellow human beings tell you what they want— not with words, but by putting their money where their mouth is. You want to see more people have better housing? Build it! Become a builder or developer. Would you like to see more things become more affordable to more people? Then figure out more efficient ways of producing things or more efficient ways of getting those things from the producers to the consumers at a lower cost.
That’s what a man named Sam Walton did when he created Wal-Mart, a boon to people with modest incomes and a bane to the elite intelligentsia. In the process, Sam Walton became rich. Was that the “greed” that you have heard your classmates and professors denounce so smugly? If so, it has been such “greed” that has repeatedly brought prices down and thereby brought the American standard of living up.
Those who have helped the poor the most have not been those who have gone around loudly expressing “compassion” for the poor, but those who found ways to make industry more productive and distribution more efficient, so that the poor of today can afford things that the affluent of yesterday could only dream about. If you really want to be of service to others, then let them decide what is a service by whether they choose to spend their hard-earned money for it.
(i) Mark Perry, who quoted Thomas Sowell’s article in his blog, adds: “I nominate Walmart for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for its extraordinary public service. It has done more to lift more people out of poverty — with its “Everyday Low Prices” and by providing millions of jobs worldwide at its retail outlets and supporting millions of jobs indirectly for the thousands of Walmart suppliers — than past Peace Prize recipients including Mother Theresa, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama, the United Nations, and the World Food Program combined.”
(ii) People need three things in a job: (1) I get to do the types of tasks I love doing every day, (2) I get to do them in a company which is succeeding, and (3) My work makes the world a better place. So if you want to recruit great people, you need to have something to say about how you make the world a better place.
(iii) See also How to articulate your vision in a compelling way.