Celebrate Capital Day 2018

“The achievement of capitalism is not to provide more silk stockings for princesses but to bring them within reach of the shop girl.” (Schumpeter)
Celebrate Capital Day 2018
By: George Noga – September 2, 2018

       This Monday, let’s celebrate capital along with labor. Labor is a noble activity but capital puts labor on steroids by making it more productive. The natural condition of mankind is, and always has been, poverty. Therefore, we should not be asking what causes poverty, but what causes wealth. The answer to that question is capitalism.

       Paleolithic fishermen worked incessantly spearing enough fish to survive until one nascent capitalist thought of a net. Since he had no capital, he worked longer hours for months to accumulate enough extra fish (his capital) to give him time to construct a net. He then generated a surplus of fish to trade for other goods. His capital investment made him wealthier than others but it also made everyone else better off. The same is true of the capitalists who founded Wal-Mart, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.

        Per the World Bank, capitalism has cut extreme poverty by 75% in just the past 25 years, equal to 1.2 billion human beings with an additional 50 million being lifted out of poverty each year. Each day there are 135,000 fewer people in poverty. Today less than 10% of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty and it could end within our lifetime. This is by far the greatest economic success story of all time. For the average human being, the world has never been a better place – thanks to capitalism.

        Americans are ignorant of the dramatic progress against extreme poverty. Surveys have asked if, over the last two decades, extreme poverty has doubled, remained the same or halved (the correct answer). A staggering nineteen out of twenty (95%) Americans get it wrong. The only plausible explanation is media ignorance and bias. Despite capitalism stamping out poverty and vastly improving the human condition, it is widely condemned – even by the Pope. Why all the criticism?

  •      Capitalism is perceived as flawed because it hasn’t solved every human problem. In fact, capitalism is purely an economic system and most of the things for which it is criticized (wealth distribution) are political rather than economic issues.


  •       An ubiquitous critique is that capitalism is based on self interest or greed, if you insist. Like it or not, greed is an inseparable part of the human condition. The genius of capitalism is that it channels greed into incentives to serve your fellow man. Greed is just as endemic under socialism but it is channeled toward destructive ends.


  •       The practice of capitalism always is compared to the theory of socialism; this is a wholly dishonest comparison. If actual results of both systems are compared, capitalism triumphs handily. If the theories of both systems are compared, capitalism again wins because socialism is contrary to human nature and it never can succeed.


  •       Leftists, academia and the media are infatuated with socialism even though in 10,000 years socialism (and its cousins) never has succeeded in any group bigger than a family, clan or tribe (about 25 people) in which familial bonds supersede economic interests. How many more Venezuelas must there be before they learn?

      Capitalism has created a cornucopia of wealth unprecedented in human history. Extreme poverty is being eliminated; every metric of human well being is improving. Even inequality is shrinking as the poor are getting richer at a much faster pace than the affluent. Average folks live better than monarchs a few decades ago. Luxuries a short time ago are selling for ridiculously cheap prices at Wal-Mart and Costco.

        Not one of these miracles was created by government or socialism. Who has done more to benefit the common man – Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton or any king, president or commissar? America is the bastion of capitalism; tomorrow, let’s celebrate capitalism and the capitalists who had a dream and the will to accomplish it!

September 9th we blog (reluctantly) about capitalism and Pope Francis.