The genius of capitalism

One of the annoying things about conservatives is that they often don’t seem to understand that liberals actually support capitalism and free markets.  We do!  Properly regulated, capitalism is awesome.  Left unfettered, it is a human disaster.  It’s simply a matter of regulating capitalism sufficiently to still allow the basic principles of the marketplace to while preventing too much human wreckage in its wake.  In some cases, that means government may actually provide the superior provider of services, e.g., health care insurance, but those are still the exception, not the rule.  Liberals are decidedly not socialists or communists.

Anyway, I was thinking about this after listening to a great Planet Money podcast about the roots of capitalism in China.  It tells the story of the first Chinese farmers to privatize the farming efforts.  When actually farming for themselves, rather than all their efforts benefiting only the government, they produced vastly more crops.  That’s capitalism at work and with all the arguments we have over the nature of the marketplace, it is nice to have such a stark reminder of the power of capitalism compared to a state-planned economy and to remember that there’s nary a single “liberal” in this country who would actually oppose those Chinese farmers benefiting from their own hard work in the fields.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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