Why Capitalism Is the Best Thing Goin’

Top 1% pie chartWe hear a lot these days — even before all the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ nonsense — about the evils of capitalism. They say it is inherently corrupt, immoral, selfish, unfair, and brutal. It’s based on pure greed and exploitation. I say, “Baloney!” People are by nature imperfect and selfish, some more than others, so anywhere you have unscrupulous individuals you will have corruption, greed, etc. But a democratic, free-enterprise, capitalist system is by its nature the best economic system conceived by man. It provides the freedom and opportunities to make “the pie” bigger and allows anyone to participate. Everyone benefits from the new and/or improved products and services that are developed, from time-saving devices to life-saving drugs. It encourages entrepreneurship and business growth, which creates more jobs. On the whole, everyone’s standard of living improves. Or, as some like to say, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” (That’s why America’s poor often have air conditioners, microwaves, and cell phones.) And I don’t just mean here in the U.S. and other Western nations.

To add a little weight to my claims, I’d like to borrow some authority from someone who knows a thing or two about capitalism. So, here is an excerpt from the Introduction to How Capitalism Will Save Us, by successful businessman Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Ames:

“Until the credit crisis, tens of millions of people a year worldwide were joining the middle class. Between 2003 and 2007, the growth of the American economy alone exceeded the size of the entire Chinese economy. We grew the equivalent of China in four and a half years. China’s growth rates are higher — but they’re coming from a much smaller base.

Free-market economic reforms — especially since the fall of the Berlin wall — have brought an unprecedented explosion of wealth to India, China, Brazil, and nations in central and eastern Europe as well as in Latin America and Africa. Capitalism has helped to usher in an era of wealth and economic growth that failed foreign-aid programs since World War II were never able to accomplish. In China, for example, over two hundred million people now have discretionary income. The country has a burgeoning middle class. The current recession should be seen historically as an interruption, not an end, of this extraordinary economic expansion.”

That’s great for the Chinese people. The scary thing is that China’s economy is growing so quickly that they are beginning to surpass the U.S. and become a larger force in the world economy. As China becomes more capitalistic and takes advantage of its resources, it builds up more cash reserves. Meanwhile, the U.S. government restricts our own economic growth through heavy taxing, over-regulation (especially in certain industries), etc. We become dependent on other countries for certain goods (e.g., Saudi oil) and have to beg China for loans to continue running our government. How screwed up is that? But I digress…

“Along with bringing prosperity to millions, democratic capitalism has undermined political tyranny and promoted democracy and peace between nations of the world. It is, without doubt, the world’s most moral system.

This last statement may raise eyebrows in an era that has seen scandals from the collapse of Enron to the devastation of personal and charitable wealth caused by Bernard Madoff. That is not to minimize the crimes of individuals like Madoff and others or the damage they cause. As we explain, the off-the-charts criminality of individuals like Madoff no more reflects the immorality of free enterprise than the murderous crimes of a Ted Bundy or a Jeffrey Dahmer reflect a fundamental breakdown of democratic society. Democratic capitalism, as a system, is more humane than government-dominated economies, including those in countries that are otherwise democracies.

Chinese growing economy

Nations that liberalize their economies, that allow people greater economic self-determination, end up moving, sooner or later, toward democracy. Since the nations of the world began to liberalize their economies in the mid-1980s, the percentage of democratically-elected governments has surged from 40 percent to more than 60 percent today. China, for example, is not yet a Western-style democracy. But the nation is freer today than it was during the era of Mao Tse Tung and the repressive Cultural Revolution.

Despite all the gloom and doom voiced by its critics, the free-enterprise system is — and always has been — the best way to unleash the creativity, inventiveness, and energy of people and mobilize them to meet the wants and needs of others. That’s because free-market transactions, far from being driven by greed, are about achieving the greatest possible mutual benefit, not only for the parties directly involved but eventually for the rest of society.”

Is it any wonder that so many people from socialist/communist nations want to emigrate to democratic capitalist nations? There are so many more & better opportunities than in a “planned economy.” Now, we just need to get America’s economy back on track and away from its current trend toward European socialism (which has been working so well for Greece, Italy, etc.), so we don’t take a backseat to China or anyone else….

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