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…)

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:

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: