Capitalism straddles today's globe. Every economic competitor has fallen before it - predecessors, feudalism and mercantilism, and would-be successors, communism and socialism. It is the greatest wealth generator in history, and it has done, or is doing, so on every continent and in every culture.
In the broad span of its ascendancy, the current economic crisis is barely a blip. Yet many on the left seek to advance the dubious argument that capitalism precipitated this crisis. Even more preposterous is their assumption that planned economies are devoid of crisis.
Those systems choosing planning overcapitalism exist in perpetual disequilibrium. They are distinguished not only by their reliance on the state, but in an inability to right themselves. As a result, they move to ever greater disequilibrium.
As with a body, the fundamental health of an economic system lies not in never getting sick, but in its response to contagion. The current financial crisis apparently has ended in less than two years. Compare that to the continuous degeneration of communist and socialist systems.
Communism's response to capitalism offers two versions of the same tale. In the late 1980s, communism imploded across Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The rot of communism sapped the economy, the state collapsed, and capitalism rushed in.
The West, having first received capitalism, now faces its own reckoning as its entitlement societies increase their tax and debt burdens and decrease their competitive advantages. The first nation to resolve this will reap an enormous advantage. Those that fail or that deny the necessity to resolve it need only look back to the history that is rapidly gaining on them.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
J.T. Young on capitalism: