Free Market Capitalism: Innovation

Figure 1.--Here we see youngamericans introduced to McDonnald hamburgers for the first ime in 1963. This was a innovative approach to food serbice that has since spread world wide. Di you ever ask yourself, why are there virtually no fast food chains origniating in Europe or Asisn countries? We note the talking heads on television or PBS programmers constantly criticising corportations. McDinals is a popular target. But thgere are mnany other, including corporations involved with agriculture, automobiles, chemicals, defense, finance, food, energy, health care, internet, insurance, mining, telecom, transport, and many other sectors. And often the more protitable they are, the nore they are criticized. Unbelievably the otherside of the story is rarely mentioned. The innovations that have remade our modern lives have virtunlly all come from corportations and often American corporations. Corporations have profuced life saving drugs, energy to power our modern lives, technologies like the personal computers, iPads, and cell phones that most of us could not think of living without, all Advances in agriculkturehave have kept food prives reltively low in America and prevened famine abroad. These and a myriad of other achivements are rarly menitined admist the drumbeat of attacks on corportate America. This of course would be undertandavle in Soviet propaganda broadcasts, but hard to ynbderstand in a country whose economic prosperity is based on corporate success.

Capitalism has generated enormous innovation and resulted in fundamental improvement in our daily lives. The Industrial Revolution began in Britain (mid-18th century) with an impresive series of inventions and perhaps more importantly, profitable ways of using the inventioins. This was followed by stunning scientific and technical innovation in the 19th century. Economic output increased exponentially leading to rising income and living standards. As a result, for the first time in human history. average people in North America and many European countries began leading comfortable lives. Only with ibreased productivity can wages and benefits be increased. Thomas Hobbes famouly wrote tht life in a state of nsture was 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short'. And tht continued to be the case forthe greatmass of the world's population yntil free market capitalism and the indiustrial Revolution began increasing economic ouput. Most of the world lived lives along the lines of modern Bangladesh. Earning something like the equivalebt if a dollar a day. The head of the U.S. Patent Office famously stated that the office may have to close because everything of importance had been invented. Actually, the pace of innovention and innovation only quickened. And since World War II the pace of innovation has been starteling with atomic energy, television, satellites, transistors, circuitboards, computers, cell phones the internet, news drugs and medical procedures, and much more. In addition to technological innonvation, capitalism also created stylish clothing and aabnge of other appealing consumer products. All of this has come out of products created by capitalism through private companies. It is also interesting to think how in the 20th century that Communism controlled the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and other countries. Yet no scientific, technical, industrial, agticultural, or medical innovations of any importance came out of those countries. This despite enormous investsments in education and the development of an educated population, especially in the Soviet Union. Notably it is not just that few important innovations came out of the socialist world, but no inovations of any importance were produced. This is a starteling indictement of socialist econonomics.


Navigate the Chiildre in History Web Site:
[Return to the Free market capitalism]
[Return to the Main modern industrial era economics ]
[Return to the Main Economics Page ]
[Introduction] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Climatology] [Clothing] [Disease and Health] [Economics] [Geography] [History] [Human Nature] [Law]
[Nationalism] [Presidents] [Religion] [Royalty] [Science] [Social Class]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Children in History Home]

Created: 9:51 AM 8/25/2014
Last updated: 9:24 AM 8/25/2014