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Altruism and Chocolate
(09-22-02)

To the Editor:

Yesterday, the Hershey Trust announced that it will abandon its sale of the giant chocolate maker despite an offer of over $12 billion in stock and cash by the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.

Since Hershey’s decision not to sell is being triumphed as a huge victory, it is appropriate to consider just what was lost with the abandonment of sale: Yet again, the right of a business owner to control his destiny is placed in grave danger. Any time a business owner takes steps that are in his interest, we can now expect those steps to be measured by their "impact on the community," even when the "community" has no rightful claim to the property of the businessman.

Note that not one elected official came to Hershey’s defense—even the Republicans spoke out against the sale despite its making perfect business sense. This is crucial—it means that on a clear question between property rights vs. altruism, there are no elected representatives willing to defend property rights.

If freedom means freedom from the bonds placed by others, just how long can we expect freedom to last if none of its defenders are in positions of authority?

Nicholas Provenzo

Chairman
The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism

 

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