Capitalism has created the highest standard of living ever known on earth. The evidence is incontrovertible. The contrast between West and East Berlin is the latest demonstration, like a laboratory experiment for all to see. Yet those who are loudest in proclaiming their desire to eliminate poverty are loudest in denouncing capitalism. Man's well-being is not their goal.

History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all of their brains. Such is the nature of the 'competition' between the strong and the weak of the intellect. Such is the pattern of 'exploitation' for which you have damned the strong. - Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged" Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think. - Ayn Rand "What they have to discover, what all the efforts of capitalism's enemies are frantically aimed at hiding, is the fact that capitalism is not merely the "practical", but the only moral system in history." - Ayn Rand, "Capitalism : The Unknown Ideal" Certainly it is a great unhappiness to be poor, but it is an even greater unhappiness to be surrounded by people as poor as oneself. Lacking wealth oneself, one must wish wealth for others : an indigent has infinitely greater possibilities for earning his living and becoming well-off if he lives among a rich population, than if he is surrounded by poor people lilke himself. And note here that the hope of the poor is not founded upon the charity of the rich, but upon the interest of the rich. It is in his own interest that the rich man supplies the poor man with land to cultivate, tools, fertilizer, and seeds, and with food on which to live until the harvest. - Jean-Baptiste Say The plaints and wails of poets and preachers about the sins and errors of the capitalist system screech through intellectual history, while friendly voices are few. Yet no other system has resulted in so many books being published, schools founded, churches built, philantrophies undertaken, and intellectual and religious liberties maintained.
        - Michael Novak, "The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism"

When material wealth is threatened, it is only natural that we ponder our deeper values and prospects for spiritual fulfilment a little more keenly. Economic insecurity breeds moral debate, anxiety about the way we live and a quest for answers from religious authority. Much of this is healthy. But the silliest response to the downturn has been a resurgence of the argument that Christianity and capitalism are somehow incompatible. According to this strand of left-wing theology, the Christian message is fundamentally socialist, the ethical underpinning for state redistribution; it is further argued (with ill-disguised glee) that capitalism is the work of Mammon, and that those who worship it are bound, sooner or later, to come to a sticky end. Margaret Thatcher was often scorned for her assertion that ‘no one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well’. But the Iron Lady was absolutely right. The injunctions in Scripture to be charitable are matched by the expectation that we must nurture our talents, work hard and produce wealth. ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat,’ wrote St Paul to the Thessalonians. The Book of Deuteronomy puts it thus: ‘But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.’ As Mrs Thatcher declared in her famous address to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 20 years ago: ‘The Tenth Commandment — Thou shalt not covet — recognises that making money and owning things could become selfish activities. But it is not the creation of wealth that is wrong but love of money for its own sake. The spiritual
dimension comes in deciding what one does with the wealth.’
        - Spectator's Christmas leader for December 2008

"Why did men, women, and children eke out their meager existence for 6,000 years of recorded history, toiling desperately from dawn to darkbarefoot, half-naked, unwashed, unshaved, uncombed, with lousy hair, mangy skins, and rotting teeth - then suddenly, in one place on earth there is an abundance of things such as rayon underwear, nylon hose, shower baths, safety razors, ice cream sodas, lipsticks, and permanent waves?"

The financial system is simply "the mirror of mankind, revealing…the way we value ourselves and the resources of the world around us. It is not the fault of the mirror if it reflects our blemishes as well as our beauty."
        - from the Telegraph review of Niall Ferguson's "The Ascent of Money"

Harriet Harman seems to have won the deputy leadership of the Labour party by saying she did not want people to spend £10,000 on a handbag when other people were ‘struggling’. Polly Toynbee tells us that this ‘resonated with public distaste’ at the ‘debauchery of riches at the top’. Did it? If so, why? A handbag that costs £10,000 involves a lot of work by a lot of people, all of whom need to earn a living and most of whom — those rearing the animal which produces the leather, those slaughtering the animal, those tanning the leather, etc. — will not be rich. They will profit, and take pride in a job well done.
        - Charles Moore, writing in the UK "Spectator"

"Though my heart may be left of centre, I have always known that the only economic system that works is a market economy... it is the only one that reflects the nature of life itself."

The chief virtue of a capitalist mode of production is its ability to create wealth. Wealth is created when assets are moved from lower to higher valued uses. Poverty and suffering are not due to the unequal distribution of goods and resources, but to the unequal distribution of capitalism. What kind of a society isn't structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm. Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another. They rage against Materialism, as they call it, forgetting that there has been no material improvement that has not spiritualized the world. - Oscar Wilde Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good. - Ayn Rand Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

The economic value of a man's work is determined, on a free market, by a single principle : by the voluntary consent of those who are willing to trade him their work or products in return. This is the moral meaning of the law of supply and demand.

Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen. - Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: "No man should have so much." The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: "All men should have as much." - Phelps Adams The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. The trouble with socialism is socialism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists.

        - Willi Schlamm

Capitalism undoubtedly has certain boils and blotches upon it, but has it as many as government? Has it as many as marriage? Has it as many as religion? I doubt it. It is the only basic institution of modern man that shows any genuine health and vigor.
        - HL Mencken

Socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that today is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity.
        - William Howard Taft

There is nothing in socialism that a little age or a little money will not cure.
        - Will Durant

The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty - of the indefinite expansion of possibility.

        - Susan Sontag

Capitalism is an art form, an Apollonian fabrication to rival nature. It is hypocritical for feminists and intellectuals to enjoy the pleasures and conveniences of capitalism while sneering at it... Everyone born into capitalism has incurred a debt to it. Give Caesar his due.

        - Camille Paglia

It is capitalist America that produced the modern independent woman. Never in history have women had more freedom of choice in regard to dress, behavior, career, and sexual orietation.

        - Camille Paglia

We knew, too, what did not work, namely socialism in every shape or form. Nowadays socialism is more often dressed up as environmentalism, feminism, or international concern for human rights. All sound good in the abstract. But scratch the surface and you will as likely as not discover anti-capitalism, patronising and distorting quotas, and intrusions upon the sovereignty of the individual.

        - Margaret Thatcher

The Berlin Wall is the defining achievement of socialism.

        - George Will

You can't get good chinese takeout in China and cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism.

- PJ O'Rourke, "Give War A Chance" Communism is inequality...Communism is exploitation of the strong by the weak. - Pierre Joseph Proudhon Collectivism doesn't work because it's based on a faulty economic premise. There is no such thing as a person's 'fair share' of wealth. The gross national product is not a pizza that must be carefully divided because if I get too many slices, you have to eat the box. The economy is expandable and, in any practical sense, limitless. - PJ O'Rourke, "How to Explain Conservatism" The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive. - Thomas Sowell Imagine that a genie magically appeared and offered to grant you one wish - and, being a decent sort, you wished that everyone's income would be doubled. That could bring down on you the wrath of the political left, because it would mean that the gap between the rich and the poor had widened. That is basically their complaint against the American economy.

        - Thomas Sowell

It is certainly safe, in view of the movement to the right of intellectuals and political thinkers, to pronounce the brain death of socialism.

        - Norman Tebbit

Under communist rule in the Soviet Union, the 3 percent of agricultural land that was privately farmed by people who kept part of the profits from their efforts supplied the majority of all farm produce. It is not simply that bureaucracy is inefficient. Any form of production that is not based on material reward will not operate efficiently.

- Steven E Plaut, "The Joy Of Capitalism" Of course, the Marxian definition of value is ridiculous. All the work one cares to add willl not turn a mud pie into an apple tart; it remains a mud pie, value zero. By corollary, unskillful work can easily subtract value; an untalented cook can turn wholesome dough and fresh green apples, valuable already, into an inedible mess, value zero. Conversely, a great chef can fashion of those same materials a confection of greater value than a commonplace apple tart, with no more effort than an ordinary cook uses to prepare an ordinary sweet. These kitchen illustrations demolish the Marxian theory of value - the fallacy from which the entire magnificent fraud of communism derives - and to illustrate the truth of the common-sense defintion as measured in terms of use. - Robert A. Heinlein, "Starship Troopers" Material remains inert until its secrets are discovered and a technology for bending it human purposes is invented. The word ‘resources,’ therefore, includes within its meaning the factor of culture, of which discovery and invention are expressions. Protestant European culture, in particular, has been exceedingly fertile in the discovery of such resources and in the invention of such technologies...
It is a marvelous fact that 80-90% of the world’s resources have been discovered and put to use during the past century by one of the smaller cultures on the planet. Nothing prevented Brazilians from inventing the combustion engine, the radio, the airplane, penicillin, and other technologies which give resources their utility. Although Brazil is apparently one of the most richly endowed of all nations in material resources, neither Brazil nor other Latin American nations have so far provided a system favorable to invention and discovery...
Those cultures which value the intelligent and inventive use of God’s creation are far better off that those which do not. Latin America is responsible for its own condition. It had beginnings very like those of North America.
        - Michael Novak, "The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism"

Writing isn ’t the only elemental information technology that evolved in ancient states. Money — a
standardized currency — is an information technology. It is a kind of record of your past labors, of their value a judged by society. And when you spend the money, it becomes a kind of signal, confirming your wants and conveying them, however obliquely, to the various people involved in satisfying them;
passing from hand to hand to hand, money flows through the nervous system of the larger invisible
hand, informing supplier of demand.
In modern times, much kvetching has been done about money. Some consider it a tool for oppressing the
downtrodden. But, in historical perspective, money looks more like a solvent of oppression. By
invigorating market economies, it offered an alternative to a command economy dominated by the
literate few. If an economic information technology is going to be wielded on your behalf, it ’s usually
best to do the wielding yourself.
        - Robert Wright, "Nonzero"

Gold? Yellow, glittering, precious gold? No, gods...
Thus much of this will make black white, foul fair,

Wrong right, base noble, old young, coward valiant...
This yellow slave will knit and break religions, bless th' accurs'd,
Make the hoar leprosy ador'd, place thieves
And give them title, knee, and approbation, with senators on the bench.
        - from Shakespeare's "The Life of Timon of Athens"


"The only fair trade is free trade."

        - Unknown

"The rich countries of the world spend 1 billion dollars a day to make their food dearer."

        - Mike Moore, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation

"When goods don't cross borders, soldiers will."

"Assume, if it amuses you, that foreigners flood our shores with all kinds of useful goods, without asking anything from us; even if our imports are infinite and our exports nothing, I defy you to prove to me that we should be the poorer for it." "Tariffs, quotas and other import restrictions protect the business of the rich at the expense of high cost of living for the poor. Their intent is to deprive you of the right to choose, and to force you to buy the high-priced inferior products of politically favored companies." - Alan Burris, "A Liberty Primer" "The primary reason for a tariff is that it enables the exploitation of the domestic consumer by a process indistinguishable from sheer robbery." - Albert Jay Nock "If all nations had free trade, no one of them would have any special gain from it, just as, if all men were honest, honesty would have no commercial value. Some say that a man cannot afford to be honest unless all men are honest. The truth is that, if there was one honest man among a lot of cheats, his character and reputation would reach their maximum value.
So the nation that has free trade when the others do not have it gains the most by comparison with them. It gains while they impoverish themselves. If all had free trade all would be better off, but then no one would profit from it more than the others.
If this were not true, if the man who first sees the truth and first acts wisely did not get a special premium for it, the whole moral order of the universe would have to be altered, for no reform or improvement could be tried until unanimous consent was obtained. If a man or a nation does right, the rewards of doing right are obtained. They are not as great as could be obtained if all did right, but they are greater than those enjoy who still do wrong." Free trade gives millions of poor people a step up the ladder. Yes, that may mean working in a sweatshop. But these people manifestly prefer that to their prior condition. It may come as a shock to some suburban American liberals, but for children in Pakistan, the alternative to stitching Reebok soccer balls is not being driven to soccer practice in a Volvo station wagon. It's deeper poverty.
        - Robert Wright


Food prices are high today (Jun'08) for a variety of reasons:
(1) The incredible economic growth in recent years of China and India - due to their wholehearted embrace of capitalism - has made newly enriched millions understandably want to eat better, in particular more meat.  This puts pressure on the cereals that livestock consume - for example 7-8 kilos are needed for each kilo of beef.
(2) The unprecedented explosion of oil prices has ratcheted up food costs in terms of inputs like fuel for agricultural machinery, petroleum-based fertilisers, transport of product to market.
(3) Whole swathes of agricultural land have been switched from food production to maize in order to avail of generous subsidies for the production of ethanol, the latest “carbon-neutral” fad for your car.  High oil prices have reinforced this switch.  But it has been estimated that were Ireland's cars to be powered by entirely home-grown biofuels, every acre of the island would be needed to grow the necessary crops. (Then where would we get our spuds?)
(4) Some blame Al Gore's climate change for instigating floods and droughts which have played havoc with agriculture in some countries, such as Myanmar and Australia.

Meanwhile, the obscenity of long-standing agricultural subsidies in the rich world combined with the cheap exports that result and the protectionism which obstructs imports have managed to penalise countless developing-world farmers, who could otherwise produce the same food without subsidies and at less cost.  It's like pouring gasoline on a fire. Surely it is obvious that allowing high prices to spur increased production, while removing market-distorting and trade-suppressing subsidies, tariffs and fiats, will result in more food production which would bring prices back down to sensible levels.

The best example of what even little-educated sons of the soil in the developing world can do if left alone to their own devices is the free-market poppy production of war-torn, infrastructureless Afghanistan.  With no help from anyone, these hardened men fill over 90% of global demand for (illegal) heroin and other opiates, thanks also to the absence of subsidies or tariffs either at home or in the export markets.  Moreover some of these canny Afghan capitalist-farmers are now switching to wheat whose price has trebled this year, making it more profitable than poppies (whose own value coincidentally has been dropping of late).  Thus do they contribute to the food-shortage solution.

The International Food Policy Research Institute estimates that biofuel demand has contributed to 30% of the recent increase in cereal prices.  The US subsidises, to the tune of $7 billion per year, the production of some 300,000 barrels a day of maize ethanol in exchange for a supposed greenhouse-gas reduction of a derisory one-nineteenth percent.  It doesn't take much nous to figure out that if the Americans stopped frittering so much of their citizens money on such pointless subsidies, the land freed up to restore food production would contribute to the food-shortage problem - cutting prices by 20% say some.  But the Bush administration is disgracefully urging on the US to even more subsidised biofuel production.
The EU's Common Agricultural Policy continues to distribute largesse to its farmers: €43 billion in 2005 representing 44% of the budget.  And for what?  So that farmers can continue to produce food at a cost no consumer will pay.
        - Tony Allwright, "The Tallrite Blog"


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