Q: Was the middle class created by federal law or large, profit-hungry corporations?

A: It wasn’t the generosity of Congress.

Instead, Large, Profit-hungry Corporations Helped Create the Middle Class, as explained by Voices for Reason.

Big companies looking to make a buck created large supermarkets containing refrigerated produce and a large selection of dry goods. The article quotes The Great A&P, which points out before the age of large supermarkets: (more…)

Competition is good for everyone else but I need special privileges – The difference between pro-free enterprise and pro-business

There is a dramatic difference between saying you are pro-business and saying you are pro-free enterprise or pro-capitalism. Do you want lots of competition for yourself or do you want special treatment while everyone else faces competition?

Milton Friedman explains the difference:


A few of my favorite comments: (more…)

There is a secret for how a country radically reduced poverty

One country radically reduced the poverty rate. Took a few decades, but this country improved the living standards, income, health, and comfort of every person.

video: How nations succeed: what’s the secret to ending poverty?



What’s your view of free enterprise? The engine of prosperity or a golden goose to be killed?

“Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.”

Winston Churchill


Here’s a picture of life without evil capitalism – you may not like what you see

What would life be like without those greedy, evil, money-grubbing capitalists trying to make a buck off consumers? Maybe an Edenic paradise flowing with economic equality and abundant consumer products for everyone?

Not quite.

Check out this view of life without the profit motive, meaning no one has an incentive to provide you with anything.  The video is a play on the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, wherein George Bailey gets to see what the world would be like without him. In this movie, our hero gets to see what’s left over when the profit motive disappears.


Millions of people spontaneously work together to make your pencil – “I, Pencil: The Movie"

Likewise for everything you ever use – millions of people working together created it not knowing what they were actually working on. Why?

“Voluntary spontaneous cooperation”

From the waitress serving lunch for the lumberjacks cutting down a cedar tree, to the miners pulling ore out of the ground, to the engine room crew on a freighter bringing the ore to the U.S. to the engineer driving the train bringing the pencil to the regional distribution center to the forklift operator loading the truck that carries stuff to restock your neighborhood store, millions of people worked together to create the pencil you will hold in your hand during tomorrow’s staff meeting.


“I, Smartphone” – it takes millions of people and thousands of inventions to make a smart phone

Millions of people work together to build that smartphone you are using. No one person has the know-how to build it. Thousands of inventions were needed before making the first one.

I, Smartphone”, from the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, is a superb visual explaining the long supply chain and incredible range of skills needed to get that phone into your hands.

The link if needed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1Ze_wpS_o0&feature=player_embedded#t=17s

This is an update of the classic “I, Pencil”, which I mentioned here.

No one person has the skills


"I, Pencil", or, how many millions of people does it take to make one pencil?

No one person on the planet has all the knowledge or skills necessary to make one pencil. It takes multiple millions of people contributing their specialized skills just to make one.

That story is told in “I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read”, which you can find here.

I’ve long been aware of that article, but am embarrassed to admit I’ve never read it before today.

It is brilliant.

Here’s the core idea:


What are the underlying drivers of economic development?

I’ve previously mentioned that freer countries are richer countries. See

What does freedom have to do with countries getting richer?

Russell Roberts offers a partial explanation in his book The Price of Everything – A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity