Best defense of capitalism and free markets

Andrew Wilson’s article on summarizes von Mises’ answer to why so many people despise capitalism.

Ludwig von Mises, a mentor to Friedrich Hayek and a major figure in economics in his own right, set out his views on capitalism and inequality in a slender book (just 113 pages) called The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality. First published in 1954, and readily available online for less than $10, it is well worth reading today.

Mises’s treatise on why capitalism sits in the dock, falsely accused of various crimes against humanity, is a classic: bravely saying what still needs to be said. It offers a robust rebuttal to the jaundiced view of capitalism found (most recently and conspicuously) in Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

In The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, Mises asks: Why do so many people “loathe” capitalism? He gives a threefold answer.

The first factor is simple ignorance. Few people credit capitalism for the fact that they “enjoy amenities that were denied to even the most prosperous people of earlier generations.” Telephones, cars, steel-making, and thousands of other advancements are all “an achievement of classical liberalism, free trade, laissez faire, and capital” — with the driving force being the profit motive and the deployment of capital used in the development of better tools and machines and the creation of new products. Take away capitalism and you wipe out most or all of the extraordinary progress that has been made in raising living standards and reducing poverty since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

The second factor is envy, the green-eyed monster, which causes many people to think they have gotten the short end of the stick. As Mises observes: “Capitalism grants to each the opportunity to attain the most desirable positions which, of course, can only be attained by the few … Whatever a man may have gained for himself, there are always before his eyes people who have outstripped him … Such is the attitude of the tramp against the man with the regular job, the factory hand against the foreman, the executive against the vice-president, the vice-president against the president, the man who is worth three hundred thousand dollars against the millionaire, and so on.”

And finally, the third factor is the unceasing vilification of capitalism by those who seek to constrain or destroy it. As Mises notes, the critics and anti-capitalists go on telling and re-telling the same story: saying that “capitalism is a system to make the masses suffer terribly and that the more capitalism progresses and approaches its full maturity, the more the immense majority becomes impoverished.”

That third reason is a big part of why God hates these lying thieves and vipers, and that if Jesus were walking around on the earth today, he would enter into the headquarters of the lying, thieving snakes and vipers of the Federal Reserve with a whole lot worse than a big long painful whip.

Read the whole article:

It totally demolishes the ludicrous arguments of one NYT-bestselling author’s view that inequality is such a great problem. Follow the other links there to see explanations of how government interference always actually creates more inequality.


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