Consider the radical transformation in the last 300 years. And capitalism’s role therein.

Here’s the formula: compare life for the typical person today to 30, 100, 300 years ago. The things we take for granted to today would have been an unimaginable blessing back then. I get a kick out of that story line every time I see it.

The latest in a long line of examples is from Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek:  Capitalism: The Greatest Engine of Equality. He ponders what a man from 1700 would think of a visit to Bill Gates. Just about every one of the astounding things observed by the visitor from 1700 is also available to almost every person living in the U.S.

(Cross-post from my other blog, Outrun Change.)

The driving force behind all of this?


And property rights.

And a functional legal system.

And a functional democracy.

Read the full article. A few things that would have been beyond the wildest dream 300 years ago: (more…)

What strange, mysterious, magical force is loose that increased US production of both oil and gas by one-third in six years?

Is it targeted federal subsidies?  Breakthrough law from the Congress?  Socialist industrial policy?  Keynesian monetary policy?  Blockbuster documentary from Hollywood that changed minds across the country?  More support for college loans? A landmark special on network TV? Quantitative Easing?

No. It’s none of those things.

Barron’s is pondering the question as well:  The Secret of U.S. Energy Success.

Federal subsidies have produced a substantial increase in some things. The editorial provides a partial list. Subsidies have given us…

..our national surpluses of grain, milk, unemployment, nonprofit companies, disabilities, and mortgage debt.

Those subsidies didn’t produce the massive increase in oil production in Bakken and Eagle Ford.

The best paragraph from the editorial: (more…)

Is it moral for an economic system to make life better for billions of people?

The answer is yes, according to Walter Williams, who says Profit Has Improved The Human Condition.

Of course, he explains when compared to heaven or a utopia where unicorns romp freely and all the food you want magically appears on your table every day, capitalism falls short. When compared to every other economic system on earth, it does wonders.

Apart from billions of people being lifted out of grinding poverty, let’s examine other changes relatively recent in our human history, like how it becomes possible to gather wealth. Mr. Williams says: (more…)

Looking for the cause of poverty? It isn’t capitalism. Look for some other Cs – corruption, collusion, and cronyism

It’s not capitalism that has crushed millions of people into the dust of poverty across Africa and many other places and times around the world. Capitalism lifts people out of the dust.

What keeps the poor in grinding poverty?

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger’s column Capitalism’s Corruptions discusses the real causes of poverty (more…)

Capitalism is based on morality

It seems as I try to explain why freedom is moral, I find the issues and explanations go deeper than I realized. Don’t quite know when I came to the conclusion that freedom is the moral option – it seems I’ve always believed that.

In The Moral Case for Capitalism: More than Utility, Jacqueline Otto explains that capitalism and morality go hand-in-hand:

Capitalism is designed to marry a man’s moral and material growth, so that both can be fully mature. (more…)