Capitalism is the Worst Economic System, Except For All the Others

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With respect to our Amazon Product du Jour:

  • I totally agree with the sentiment expressed, but…

  • According to the Fraser Institute's latest edition on the Economic Freedom of the World, there are only 158 countries where you can get less capitalism than in the United States. There just aren't that many countries.

  • And there are six countries where you could get more capitalism than in the US. Well, in 2020, anyway. They were Hong Kong (sigh), Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, and Australia.

  • I can't find any evidence that Denzel Washington actually said this.

  • But he apparently did say something almost as good: "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you do read it, you're misinformed."

But what I really wanted to point out today is Michael Shellenberger's substack post that tells us Why Elites Like Greta Thunberg Hate Capitalism.

For the last three years, Greta Thunberg has said that her life’s purpose was to save the world from climate change. But last Sunday, she told an audience in London that climate activists must overthrow "the whole capitalist system," which she says is responsible for "imperialism, oppression, genocide... racist, oppressive extractionism." Her talk echoed the World Economic Forum's calls for a “Great Reset” away from fossil fuels and toward renewables. There is no “back to normal,” she said.

But her claims are absurd. The "whole capitalist system" has, over the last 200 years, allowed for the average life expectancy of humans to rise from 30 to 70 years of age. The "whole capitalist system" produces larger food surpluses than any other system in human history. And the "whole capitalist system" has resulted in declining greenhouse gas emissions in developed nations over the last 50 years.

Capitalism is far from perfect. It worsens inequality by making some people so rich that they can rocket into space on liquified hydrogen while leaving others too poor to afford natural gas. It is characterized by cycles of boom and bust that create frenzies of wealth followed by high unemployment. And it is constantly turning non-market relationships, including intimate ones, such as between parents and caregivers, into exchanges between buyers and sellers.

But capitalism is plainly better than any other system of economic organization yet devised. High levels of inequality are the result of more rich people, not more poor people, who are much better off under capitalism than feudalism or communism. The business cycle of booms and busts provokes manias and depressions, but it is much more efficient, and less oppressive than governments deciding what should be produced, by whom, and at what price. And while it’s true that capitalism undermines non-market relationships, that’s often a good thing, even in the case of childcare, since it allows women and others to be compensated for their labor.

More at the link, of course. Including this meme, which is pretty good:

[You have stolen my dreams]

For the record, the Fraser Institute study pegs Greta's home country of Sweden in 33rd place for economic freedom.