People like Michael Moore would have us feel guilty for our cars, our restaurants, our big houses, and our fine clothes. They would rather private property be taken by government to whatever ends they deems appropriate. The flagrant disregard for our lives is staggering. Force, for Moore and his ilk, is the answer. They want to force people to act the way they want - forced recycling, forced education, forced medical care, forced purchase of more expensive goods, etc. They want to force people to give up their property - forced income tax, forced sales tax, forced property tax, forced personal property tax, forced business tax, etc. They want to force professionals to do their bidding - from doctors, to bankers, to business executives, to home builders, to lawyers. While their primary target is the rich, I've noticed they often have no qualms demanding the same from everyone.
In a fit of desperation, my wife asked me the other day what can we do against such blatant irrationality and refusal to see. If there is an antidote, its name is The Capitalist Manifesto.
In this book, Andrew Bernstein addresses three major perspectives of capitalism - the moral, the economic, and the historic. In each perspective, Bernstein provides a compelling case for why capitalism is the only viable political philosophy with regards to protecting private property and individual rights. He demolishes the alternative theory of socialism and demonstrates how even mixed economies are ultimately immoral, inefficient, and nonviable.
Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned - Ayn RandI was already familiar with the moral and economic arguments Bernstein uses, through the works of Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises among others. Bernstein does not disappoint in those sections. Capitalism is the only moral system because it respects the individual and does not try to force him to act against his own judgment nor his own life. But more than anything, I savored the exciting historic narrative that, for the first time, pieced together disparate facts I have learned over the years into a picture of capitalism as a monumental success story. Starting with pre-industry revolution England, Bernstein weaves a story of a country struggling to emerge from abject poverty to a country of wealth and leisure. All due to the pursuit of individual self-interests, enabled by laws protecting private property and respecting individual rights. The story then continues with America, which fully embraced the capitalist mentality, enabling us to become the richest nation in the world.
The characteristic mark of economic history under capitalism is unceasing economic progress, a steady increase in the quantity of capital goods available, and a continuous trend toward an improvement in the general standard of living. - Lugwig von MisesThe wonderful world around us is all thanks to Capitalism. All the billions of individuals working hard toward their own ends has lead to the wonderful inventions like Google Wave, Spaceship one, Segway, and robotic surgery. It has lead to the New York skyline (pictured on the left) and 1/5 mile long cruise ships. Poverty in America is considered under $12000 a year, which is more than the average income of most third world countries, all of whom reject capitalism as an economic system. Our incredibly complex business world can bring thousands of food products from thousands of locations from thousands of miles away working with thousands of different businesses to our local grocery stores, such that the shelves are always filed and I can buy what I want, when I want. Because of capitalism, my biggest worry of the day is remembering to pick up some groceries on the way home, not will I starve tomorrow.
I would recommend Bernstein's book to anyone interested in hearing the true story of Capitalism, why it is moral, its effect on wealth, or anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of why I LOVE CAPITALISM!