Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Once Great, Always Great?

Stand Up for Capitalism!

Yes, there’s a recession on and it’s deep. Capitalism is not perfect (though one harbors the suspicion that if government had not, in effect, subsidized risky mortgage lending we would not be in this position). But with all its defects, capitalism remains the greatest engine of prosperity the world has ever witnessed. Just in the last 25 years, hundreds of millions of people, principally residing in China and India, who had been close to destitution and starvation are driving cars, sipping lattes, and chatting on cell phones thanks to free-market reforms. Countries with few natural resources other than the brains of their people — like Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan — have become economic powerhouses by permitting the free market to work its magic.

Here at home, the U.S. has been able to dramatically improve standards of living not just for the wealthy (they do fine in every country) but for ordinary people. Hard work has been rewarded, not punished. And the free market has given us everything from computers and iPods to Prilosec and the Mayo Clinic.

It didn’t seem possible six months ago that capitalism in the United States could be in danger. If Obama/Pelosi/Reid have their way, the U.S. too will bear the prefix "once-great."

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