Free Market Capitalism: Modern Assessments

Figure 1.--One of the targets of the Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2001 was the Twin Towers in New York--the nerve center of American free market capitalism. Freedom in all its manifestations is to the Islamicists a sin and to be destroyed and along with it as many innocent people as possible. Capitalism is a special target because it has generated such success while their countries, unless financed by oil wealth, live in abject poverty. Theocrats, monarchs, and totalitarians have all attempted to control free economic activity and in our modern age this has meant modern free market capitalism. Here the children of those killed in the attak ended the tradeing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on the 10th anniversary of the attack. Click on the image for a stunning visual representation of economic freedom.

An incredible amount of verbage has been written extoling and condeming the two economic poles of modern industrial economic organization. An incredible amount of hate-filled invective have been leveled against capitalism. This has generally come from those who would like to limit freedom, both religious and political groups. Both groups sought to control ideas and wealth. The Catholic church deemed usury, even interest a sin as does Islam. The mullas in a theocratic state like Iran seek to control the economy and privide the pillars of state security monopolies and economic advantages. European monarchies resisted capitalism, assigning monopolies and benefits to its supporters. The totalitarian movements of the 20th century, both Communism and Fascism, attacked capitalism because the freedom it was based on limited their ability to control the individual. The modern Islamists are similarly motivated. While a detailed assessment is complicated, there are some salient, indisputable facts. First, the closer a country aproaches capitalist, free market economics, the richer it is. And conversely, the closer a state socialist commad economics, the poorer it is. Second, modern industrialn states achieved affluence as capitalist states. Socialist economics have spread the wealth in already developed countries, but has never suceeded in creaditing an affluent modern economy. A factor here is the enormous opportunities for corruption in state runconcerns. The sucess of capitalism in creating the Asian Tigers and in reversing the disaterous socialist econmies of China and India is starteling. Three, while there is less concentration of wealth in socialist economies, mean incomes in socialist economies tend to be much lower than in capitalist countries. Four, the high incomes and restrictive labor legislation have not only created permanetly high levels of unemployment in European wellfare states and unsustainable entitlements that are now requiring drastic benefit cuts. Five, major scientific and medical innovations have largely come from capitalist countries or from companies in European welfare states that rely on markets in capitalist countries. Six, the Soviet Empire imploded because socialist command economics could not compete with capitalist marrket economies.


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Created: 7:17 AM 10/6/2011
Last updated: 7:17 AM 10/6/2011