Saving the Free Market

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There is a brilliant little book titled The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, written by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises. Therein we are reminded that human progress is directly linked to the free market. No free market, no progress. Before the market was free, bankers and businessmen were thought to be morally deficient. Restrictions were placed on their activity. In pre-modern times, loaning money at interest was banned by the Church.  Then, gradually, freedom took hold by degrees.

According to Mises, “The characteristic feature of modern capitalism is mass production of goods destined for consumption by the masses.” He further added, “The result is a tendency towards a continuous improvement in the average standard of living, a progressing enrichment of the many.” This statement is not theory. It is historical fact, and may be demonstrated by comparing pre-modern life to modern life in capitalist countries. It is also true that countries that have never had free market capitalism remain pre-modern in their standard of living. That is to say, they remain poor.

According to Mises, “The profit system [of the free market] makes those men prosper who have succeeded in filling the wants of the people in the best possible and cheapest way.” The free market is a daily plebiscite, he explained, in which “every penny gives a right to vote … who should own and run the plants, shops and farms.” Rather than giving everyone an equal share in running the economy, the free market places in charge those best able to provide for the many. In this arrangement, everyone must produce. Everyone buys and sells. “This is what the modern concept of freedom means,” noted Mises. “Every adult is free to fashion his life according to his own plans.”

The grinding poverty of the majority of mankind before modern times can hardly be imagined by prosperous people today. For thousands of years our ancestors lived as serfs or slaves, or bondmen. Today the wealth and possibilities for life of the average American would astonish past generations. “Under capitalism the common man enjoys amenities which in ages gone by were unknown and therefore inaccessible even to the richest people,” noted Mises.

On account of its virtues as a system, free market capitalism was and is hated – especially by the intelligentsia. “The anticapitalist bias of the intellectuals is a phenomenon not limited to one or a few countries only,” wrote Mises. “But is more general and more bitter in the United States than it is in the European countries.” The cause of this hatred may be found in the resentment of educated persons who imagine their talents would be better recognized under a socialist system. There are those, as well, who see themselves as socialist leaders. But the push for socialism did not bring about a golden age. It brought economic ruin. Those who hated the free market could no longer argue that socialism was more efficient. Instead, they began to employ environmentalism as their new argument.

A powerful answer to the environmentalist assault on the free market can be found in the eloquent video titled “If I wanted America to Fail,” produced by Americans for Limited Government and Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy. Everyone should see this presentation. Watch it, share it with friends. The free market is under attack and if we don’t do something the future will be grim indeed. The anti-capitalistic mentality opposes, as a matter of course, all the vital underpinnings of our society. Day by day government grows stronger and the free market becomes less and less free. “Is it possible,” asked Mises, “that the scions of the builders of the white man’s civilization should renounce their freedom and voluntarily surrender to the suzerainty of omnipotent government?”

Oh yes, it is possible. In fact, that’s what we see all around us. And if we don’t call a halt soon, there won’t be sites like this one because there won’t be a market worth watching. 

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About JR Nyquist

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