On college campuses today, it seems almost second nature to read Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto in a philosophy class, or to sit in an introductory political science class and listen to the merits of socialism. professors who try very little to hide their real political beliefs. within the classroom. As a college student there was little discussion of capitalism, with a few philosophical texts by Adam Smith used.
With this lack of education on capitalism, it makes socialism and other forms of economic structures extremely attractive to young students, hungry for knowledge, when it is the only thing that is taught. However, no matter what is said in class, no matter how many students wearing Che Guevara t-shirts trying to convince you that socialism is what America should start to embrace, capitalism will always be the system. economical that works. Capitalism is the only sustainable economic system, and it is because of this that has enabled the United States to continue to be a world leader in capitalist economies, despite the struggle for the socialization of the nation.
So why does capitalism work? Capitalism works because of its main goal – to have a free economy. We are proud, as Americans, to be the land of the free. The United States Constitution is in place to ensure this stays true. The most basic freedom is the freedom to make choices. Capitalism promotes choice. It promotes people’s ability to decide what they want to buy, how much they want to buy, where they want to live, where they want to work, etc. With other economic forms such as socialism, the choices are limited. The government decides, for example, what kind of health care is available and does not allow people to decide for themselves what they want.
On top of that, the reason that capitalism has worked and will work for hundreds of years is that it is based solely on the idea of consent. To make a purchase, the buyer and seller must agree on a price. The buyer must consent to the seller’s price and the seller must consent to the buyer’s request. For example, if a car dealership sells cars for too high a price, the buyer will not be willing to buy those cars and will look for cheaper options. But if buyers see that the cars are being sold at a price they can agree to, that the seller’s choice can still make them a profit, they will make the purchase. Meanwhile, in other economic systems, the government has a say in the price of goods and services, which takes away consent to purchases. It is fundamentally immoral to do. If the people are truly free, as democratic western societies like to think, then eliminating or at least limiting consent is totally at odds with that.
So where does this consent come from? What if the seller just wants high prices to force the buyer to pay too high a price for the goods? Well, that’s almost impossible in a capitalist society. The reason consent is the basis of capitalism is because of competition. Unlike any other form of economy, capitalism operates on competition. In a capitalist society, there are many sellers selling products to the people. For this reason, sellers try to innovate and create better and unique products to attract consumers, while lowering prices to underestimate each other. This creates lower prices for consumers and better goods and services. The same cannot be said of state-run economies.
One of the biggest complaints statists have about capitalism and the trigger words that are thrown by Democratic politicians and in the college class is that capitalism leads to a wealth gap and harms a nation’s poor. However, it is incredibly backwards because capitalism has done nothing but raise living standards and help the poor out of relative poverty. For example, the number of people living in poverty today is almost half of what it was in 1990. The main contributors to this are China and India after they started to open their markets and become more capitalist.
Ultimately, capitalism is what allows Americans to prosper. The clothes you wear are the result of capitalism. The Internet or the newspaper you use to read this article is the product of capitalism. Capitalism is what allows us to live our life. He strives to improve people, he strives to help, he strives to maintain himself.
Nathaniel Beach ’20 is an EPI major from Columbus, Ohio.