Despite their Moral Preening, Statists Would Not Want to Live in a World without Capitalism

I have a real problem with the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters. Do the liberal protesters that attack the greed of capitalism ever take the time to look at what the world would look like without capitalism?

Part of my job at the Cato Institute is to educate people about free markets and fiscal policy.

In some cases, that means providing information and analysis to those already sympathetic to limited government. There are many people who like the idea of lower tax burdens, for instance, but they may not have given much thought to the interaction of tax rates, taxable income, and tax revenue, so that’s why I put together my Laffer Curve tutorial and why I wrote about this amazing data from the Reagan tax cuts.

The harder part of my job is reaching people with statist instincts. I wrote a post last week mocking an absurd example of Swedish egalitarianism, but I included some serious thoughts about why some people oppose liberty. How do I reach those people, especially when there’s some very interesting evidence showing fundamental differences in how liberals, conservatives, and libertarians see the world?

I don’t have a single answer to that question. Sometimes I use the utilitarian approach and show how capitalist nations outperform statist nations, as you can see in this comparison of North Korea and South Korea, and this post comparing Argentina, Chile, and Venezuela.

In other cases, I try a philosophical approach, one example of which is this video arguing against majoritarianism.

And sometimes I use horrifying anecdotes in hopes that people will realize the risks of unconstrained government.

But perhaps the folks at the Fund for American Studies have discovered a good way of educating statists. Take a look at this clever video.

It’s a Wonderful Life! (with capitalism)

Published on Oct 17, 2012 by

Ever wonder what life would be like without capitalism? Join The Fund for American Studies on a journey to an alternate universe — one where capitalism no longer exists. You may find it’s not quite what you expected.


P.S. Here’s another video from TFAS that uses an unusual tactic to get people to think about the value of capitalism and free markets.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Duck stamp prints  On November 6, 2012 at 6:31 am

    I think it’s not all that difficult to live in world without capitalism. People need to realize the society is above all individual gains. And I think some statists countries have made remarkable progress in recent times.

    • Everette Hatcher III  On November 6, 2012 at 6:45 am

      Greed is everywhere and it is even in the communist countries where it is the most statist. Look at Milton Friedman’s comment to Phil Donohue:

      “Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? You think Russia doesn’t run on greed? You think China doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear, that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.”
      ― Milton Friedman
      Thank you for taking time to respond.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: