Monday, February 15, 2016

Six Good Things About Capitalism

Everybody is recoiling in shock at the Millennial Kids. How could they be rallying to the socialist Bernie Sanders? Don’t they know that socialism has been a disaster wherever it was tried? Did they never hear of Venezuela?

OK, I do understand. Bernie is offering the Kids free college. And who ever refused a politician offering free stuff until they got their first paycheck and notice the deductions?

But why be surprised? The Millennial Kids have been taught for 20 years by government teachers. You think the lifer wardens and trusties at the government child-custodial facilities are going to teach the inmates about the wonders of life outside the razor wire?

So when Peggy Noonan wrote that:
In the young [Sanders’] support is understandable: They have never been taught anything good about capitalism and in their lifetimes have seen it do nothing—nothing—to protect its own reputation.
she struck a chord in me.

Actually, those Kids probably have seen a capitalist do something to protect its reputation. Ever heard tell of them “Koch Brothers.” They have put their mouth where their money is.

And look where it got them. It got them mentioned by the execrable Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and denounced by the left everywhere as the epitome of evil villainy. Do you wonder why most capitalists keep their heads down?

So it falls to us foolish scribblers to stand up for capitalism. Here are six good things about capitalism. (Hey, Peggy, how often do you use your bully pulpit to say anything good about capitalism?)

Capitalism has increased per-capita income by 30 Times in 200 Years. That is 30 times as in 3,000 percent. As Deirdre McCloskey writes, there has been nothing like it, ever. She calls it The Great Enrichment and The Bourgeois Era, but that doesn’t really begin to describe the utter impossibility of the whole thing.

Capitalism is not investment, or savings, or accumulation. It is Surprise. Capitalism is the surprise of the textile revolution. Imagine! Cheap cotton textiles for the masses! It is the surprise of the oil revolution, bringing the illuminating oil for those oil lamps in Western movies from 80 cents a gallon down to 8 cents. When I was a young computer guy, working on an IBM 1130 with 32KB of memory and a 1MB disk, I never imagined the possibility of a smartphone with 32GB in my pocket which would play tunes in my car. Back then, it was inconceivable! Not to mention the pseudo-random noise communications.

Capitalism is permanent revolution. You want revolution, you Bernie guys? Real revolution, unlike the fake revolutions of lefty politics where one ruling class is replaced with another? If you do, then you want capitalism. Capitalism is the story of nobodies changing the world. Who was Hargreaves, inventor of the spinning jenny? A nobody. Who was John D. Rockefeller, inventor of the oil industry? A clerk in a store. Who was Andrew Carnegie, who brought us cheap steel? A telegraph messenger. Who was Steve Jobs? A college dropout. You want to talk revolution, forget politics and create a business start-up.

Capitalism gives young people a chance. Notice something about corporations in their growth stage? They hire young people. Notice something about well-established corporations and government? They are full of time-serving middle-aged lifers. ‘Nuff said.

Capitalism learns every day. Government never learns. Of course, capitalism doesn’t want to learn. That’s why capitalists like the ethanol guys in Iowa are so eager to crony up with government and get permanent subsidies. But the capitalists have to learn, and they learn every minute, every day from the world’s most amazing information system, the price system. Of course, the price system isn’t a Newtonian mechanical system at all; it is more accurately a probability state function, like in quantum mechanics. If you want a system, go to government, where Newton’s Third Law operates in a blind battle of equal and opposite forces battling to a bloody stalemate.

Capitalism is the deadly foe of discrimination. Can’t get a job because you are brown or black or white or female or male or gay or Muslim or Christian or an immigrant or young or old? Capitalism says: No Problem! We’ll hire anyone, especially if you are cheap! That’s why they had to have all those Jim Crow laws to enforce segregation in the South and the Davis-Bacon law to enforce “prevailing wages” in construction to keep blacks from competing with whites. And that’s why we are talking about building a wall on the Mexican border.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Capitalism is the magic bullet for young people, because it is a rebellion of termites constantly undermining the foundations of established privilege and power.

But now you understand why Bernie Sanders doesn’t like capitalism. For an old geezer like him, there is nothing good there.

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