Monday, December 25, 2006

The Secret of Our Success: Part 1

Part 1: The Goodness of Free Market Capitalism

Simply put, the market economy has created the prosperity we enjoy today. Year after year, decade after decade legions of innovative, productive, and creative people labor to lay the foundation we build our individual lives on. For those who have chosen to participate and not merely sponge off the largess of the productive among us the capitalist market system has produced previously unheard of wealth and well being. This sort of system has prospered where ever it has been tried and despite what the socialist or the communist would have you believe it has produced the greatest middle class societies the world has ever known.

The astonishing thing is that the forces aligned against the free market include certain capitalists themselves as well as the aforementioned communists and socialists. When this triad coalesces within the government it is a wonder that capitalism thrives at all. But thrive it does. It works because it has as its base the very essence of human nature that has been at the foundation of civilization since the dawn of recorded history. Self interest.

In the past (as well as in the present) kings and dictators, corrupt king-pins and bosses have subverted this self-interest, leaving the powerless in slavery or servitude. It wasn’t until the uniqueness of the United States blossomed did it become clear that the power of the market to serve the individual would impress upon the world what true economic freedom could produce. Make no mistake – it is a work in progress, but what a piece of work it is!

The good news is that humanity has been liberated from endless poverty, sickness, and early death!

It is to the power of free market capitalism we owe everything - our prosperity, our leisure time, our good health and our long lives. Wherever starvation, disease, systemic corruption and a perpetual state of war exist you will not find a free economic system running on capitalistic principles - that is, except in the margins where the black market thrives. The black market is an artificial manifestation in an unfree society that fulfills the unmet need of the individual to trade his goods and services. When the free market is unleashed the black market disappears into the shadows and a new middle class society is born.

There is more than just economic benefits that surface as a result of the miracle of capitalism. It is also an expression of freedom, real freedom – economic freedom. The inherent result is a society where individual rights are respected; businesses, families, and associations are permitted to thrive without intrusive government interference.

Recent history is replete with examples of how free markets and free trade has delivered the masses from poverty and servitude. Since World War II we have had a virtual lesson in economics played out with the world’s economy as our classroom. The nations of Japan and West Germany whose reconstruction was managed by the United States saw these two nations become the 2nd and 3rd largest economies in the world. At the same time the communist overlords in the Soviet Union and China continued to see poverty and shortages plague their centrally controlled economies. Even now in the liberated nations of western Europe the stagnation of socialist guided economies is becoming ever more apparent with each passing year. Only after the governments in China and India threw off the economic shackles of their communism and socialism respectively have we seen both nations develop into the most dynamic economies of the day. In contrast Western Europe, Russia and even Canada stubbornly cling to their socialist/oligarchical ways only to watch Southeast Asia leap over them on the world economic stage. Ironically, it is the “capitalistic” elements in all these societies that produce whatever power and wealth they enjoy!

Perhaps the most prescient example of the deficiency of economic freedom is in the Arab/Muslim world. Oil wealth in the region gives an appearance of success when in fact the poverty of peace and freedom is overwhelming. No where in the world is the need for economic reform greater than in the nations of the greater Middle East. Unfortunately without a successful example of an economically free nation in their midst (excluding Israel, of course) it is less and less likely that the region it will ever reform. This makes the resistance by the so-called western allies to the American led regime change in Iraq all the more puzzling. Well, maybe not…

There is a world wide effort to devalue what capitalism has created and it is led by the Europeans, the Chinese government, the UN and certain political groups in the United States itself. Freedom itself is at issue here. The Europeans, the Chinese, the Russians, the Muslims and the American left wing don’t believe in it. Oh, they may say they do, they may even accuse you of slander and, of course, racism if you question their commitment to it, but their actions speak louder than their words.

When a beleaguered President Bush says opposing the tide of Islamic terrorism is the cause of our time he is actually down playing the challenge… Defending the freedom and prosperity that free market capitalism has produced is really at stake. We ignore this challenge at our own peril.