Capitalism has a positive side
Recently, your newspaper printed readers’ letters that disparaged capitalism and the free enterprise system. The core of these complaints was that throughout history, greedy capitalists have enriched themselves at the expense of workers and the common citizen. In reality, capitalism and free enterprise have proven to be the economic engine that has increased the wealth of the entire world 70-fold since 1900. The proof of this can be found in the extraordinary standard of living enjoyed by those fortunate enough to live in a free enterprise economy.
The People’s Republic of China, after more than 40 years of a disastrous experiment in all-out communism that cost more than 50 million lives, finally resorted to free enterprise to reverse the destitute economic fortune of the world’s most populous nation. The result of that decision is manifest. In a little more than twoscore years, China now has the second-largest economy in the world.
Unrestricted capitalism is, of course, not a panacea. Some degree of governance is required to ensure that the economic benefits can be realized by a majority of the populace. However, for too long in America, labor unions, politicians and social engineers have made a living of attacking capitalists as being selfish and detached, seeking only power and self-indulgence.
Despite this, innumerable wealthy altruists continue to employ their private fortunes to improve the lives of the less fortunate in society. In 2000, according to the American Enterprise Institute, households with total wealth exceeding $1 million gave about half of all charitable donations. What should be clearly understood is: Without the vision, risk, persistence and sacrifice of those few among us who strive to build businesses and industries that exploit the resources and opportunities that are all but invisible to most common men, labor unions, politicians and workers would gain little and would have even less to contest.
R. Scott Morris