Today’s a day that ends in y, so something incredibly stupid is trending on the internet.
The latest dose of viral idiocy comes courtesy of a New York artist collective that’s selling “eat the rich” popsicles crudely shaped like billionaires. With brilliant names like “Suck Zuck,” “Bite Bill,” and “Munch Musk,” the different popsicles are fashioned in the image of the world’s most notorious tech billionaires, including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk.
New Yorkers can take a bite out of capitalism by munching on popsicles shaped like the heads of billionaires Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Jack Ma, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg near McCarren Park in Brooklyn pic.twitter.com/oD8JEZhkeW
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 13, 2022
This stunt is specifically being done to promote an anti-capitalist, “eat the rich” message.
“I think ‘eat the rich’ is just a culturally relevant saying, and being able to turn it into a product and experience is amazing,” the artist collective’s chief revenue officer Daniel Greenberg said.
This entire thing is ironic on several levels.
For one, they’re charging $10 a popsicle. Yes, $10 for a single popsicle! That’s an absurdly high price that almost certainly far exceeds the cost of making each popsicle, so evidently they’re not above making a profit.
As the comments section quickly pointed out, this is perhaps the most quintessentially capitalistic anti-capitalist protest of all time.
Funniest thing is people in this neighborhood are the rich they’re eating. A studio apt in that neighborhood goes for $3-4k a month 😂
— big umami milkers (@jaxdellosso) July 15, 2022
That is the most American thing I’ve seen in my life:
Literally marketing and selling anti-capitalism as a product for money.
— Cat Bastard Quinn (@QuinnCat13) July 15, 2022
this is like smoking a cigarette that has "fuck cancer" printed on it
— big tex (@FUCKIECHINSTER) July 15, 2022
But that isn’t actually a bad thing. If anything, this silly stunt actually offers an example of why capitalism is such an inherently good thing.
While I would never pay $10 for a popsicle, apparently a bunch of people did! They reportedly sold quite well. The fact that people were actually willing to shell out $10 for (pretty crude) popsicles kinda shaped like rich famous people means that they valued the humor and fun aspect of the gimmick more than the $10 they had to part ways with. The sellers obviously thought $10 was more valuable than the popsicles they had or they would’ve set a higher price or kept them.
The popsicle exchange was a win-win, a mutually beneficial transaction that left both parties better off. (If either side didn’t feel it was worth it, they wouldn’t have gone through with the swap).
So, in this, it’s a perfect encapsulation of why capitalism creates wealth and is beneficial for all involved. For example, when someone buys something from Amazon, they’re only doing so if the value it will provide to them is higher than the price they’ll have to pay. And Amazon is only selling it at that price if it’s worth it on their part, too.
Just like the popsicle swap, capitalism is all about win-win outcomes in voluntary exchanges. To get rich in a true free-market economy, you have to provide and create win-win opportunities for thousands of people.
On the other hand, big-government, socialistic policies are all about third parties stepping in and using the government to block people from exchange, in the name of morality, equality, and other paternalistic excuses. The $15 minimum wage, for example, is in effect the government blocking you from trading your labor for $10 even though you and your would-be employer would only agree to that trade if it left you both better off.
So, while these New York artists with their (rather ugly and absurdly expensive) eat the rich popsicles may have set out to make fun of capitalism, they only really managed to remind us why it’s so freaking awesome.