Nothing, absolutely nothing, has raised more people out of abject poverty than free market capitalism. And I don’t mean a mixed system with some socialism and somewhat free markets here and there. I am talking about the real deal, where prices are free to move, free market CAPITALISM. This stands in direct conflict with what many of us have been taught of course.
Capitalism, it is often said reduces the poor to barely more than machines. The labor of these poor workers, the proletariat, is then stolen from them by greedy “capitalists.” The profits are taken and with the profits the dignity of the “working person.” The free market exploits we are told.
But though there are certainly examples of “exploitation” in true free market capitalism, such examples are typically fleeting. People move. They gain skills while being “exploited” and either move up or leave to earn more money at other firms. Some of the “exploited” see opportunities in the marketplace and start companies of their own.
When people are allowed to pursue their best interests wealth is generated. People must serve other people in order to make a living. It is only when the restrictions of the state enter, restrictions which are often sold as populist in nature but typically serve the interests of the powers that be, that we see the worst examples of poverty.
There is a reason why India which was founded as a socialist country remained excruciatingly poor everywhere until it began to let the sunlight of markets in. In China some sunshine has been let in, and where the economy is relatively free the economy has done well. Where crony capitalism and socialism are still pervasive the average person suffers.
Antipathy toward free market capitalism has done far more to impoverish and exploit the poor around the world than any truly free market capitalist ever has, that is for sure. The collectivist ethos which runs deep with some in the developed world is an immense delusion, a cult of the state with more and less orthodox wings, which literally kills people.
When people are free to build wealth, that’s what they do, and not just for themselves.
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