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Friday, February 01, 2008

Capitalists Who Bash Capitalism

CNS News features an article about Bill Gates complaining that capitalism--what made him worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 billion--is an unfair system that aggravates poverty.

Bill Gates told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week that under pure capitalism, "the great advances in the world have often aggravated the inequities in the world. The least needy see the most improvement, and the most needy see the least."

I suppose my first question of Gates might be, "Does that mean you will be closing Microsoft and moving to North Korea?" After all, if capitalism is such a terrible system, how can a man who feels the plight of the poor so acutely remain involved in it?

If Gates declined to close Microsoft, I would then ask, "So will you be donating all of your personal profits, except $50,000 or so per year, to the poor and needy? You shouldn't need more than that to live on, right?" Somehow I expect the answer would be "no" here, too.

If Gates really cared that much, he could certainly donate more than he already is--considerably more--and still be left with considerably more than $50,000 a year. If he really wanted to.

We will never eradicate poverty (even Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you"), and we will never completely eradicate inequality in this fallen, sinful world.

But in this fallen world, an economic system of capitalism built upon a governmental system based on morality and integrity is about as good as you're going to get.

The only real alternative, socialism or communism, has been demonstrated over and over again not to work. Look to any country that has tried communism (Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba, etc.) and you will find crumbling infrastructure and starving people. Look to any country of any size that has tried socialism and you will find bloated budgets, loss of freedom, and a degradation of human dignity and initiative.

"What I think he's missing there is that capitalism hasn't failed the poorest people in the world - it simply hasn't been tried in the poorest countries in the world," Boas told Cybercast News Service.

"The failure is that poor countries have socialism and corporate fascism and cronyism and central planning - but they haven't tried capitalism, property rights and the rule of law," he added.

Fred L. Smith, founder and president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted that nowhere in his speech did Gates call for poor countries to change their anti-capitalist governments.

I recall the idiocy of liberalism back in the 1980s during the famine in Ethiopia ("We Are The World"). Instead of working to free the people of Ethiopia from their oppressive communist government, liberals in the West raised lots of money for starving Ethiopians...that went into the pockets of the despots running Ethiopia and starving their own people.

It is no coincidence that the most free and prosperous nations around the world are the ones with the most free-market capitalist systems. Sure, some people get very rich in capitalism, but everyone benefits. After all, you don't get rich just from good looks; you have to create a product or service that people will pay for, and you need to hire people to help you create that. This system benefits many.

There will always be room for misuse, abuse and evil in any system (remember how the pigs were "more equal" in "The Animal Farm"--and in communist countries?), but at least in open, free-market systems there is room for initiative and upward mobility for the individual who engages his creativity and drive. And free countries don't have the police powers of the state bearing down on everyone, keeping them in place and locked in as they do in Marxist societies and dictatorships.

Instead of bashing the system that has brought comfort and affluence to more people than any other economic system ("the poor" in capitalist societies usually have it pretty good) why don't liberals try something novel for a change?

Why not work to get us away from dead-end socialist schemes that deny the nature and dignity of man, and encourage everyone in society to be responsible and take charge of their own destiny, encourage them to maximize their initiative and potential?


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