Walter E. Williams: The Pope And Capitalism
Walter E. Williams shows his usual brilliance in this article titled, The Pope And Capitalism. The pope is trying to solve economic problems through his vision of justice. Unfortunately the laws of economics don’t obey the pleas for “justice” or “fairness” however they may be defined. Here are a few excerpts from the article.
“First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. However, mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist on earth. For the common man, capitalism is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.”
The usual tactic that people, who are against capitalism, use to argue against it is to set up the straw man of a utopian economic system and argue that capitalism doesn’t meet the utopian standard. They seem to think that if we just got rid of free market capitalism this utopian world would magically come into existence.
“There are literally thousands of examples of how mankind’s life has been made better by those in the pursuit of profits. Here’s my question to you: Are people who, by their actions, created unprecedented convenience, longer life expectancy and a more pleasant life for the ordinary person — and became wealthy in the process — deserving of all the scorn and ridicule heaped upon them by intellectuals, politicians and now the pope?”
Think about everything you purchase and consume, and ask yourself this question: Would I be able to produce all of these things with the scarce time and knowledge I have? The answer is no. You pay people for their knowledge and their ability to produce what you can’t produce. If we didn’t have specialization and exchange we would be living in a primitive society.
“Profits force entrepreneurs to find ways to please people in the most efficient ways or go out of business. Of course, they can mess up and stay in business if they can get government to bail them out or give them protection against competition.”
The problem we run into is most people think our present economic system is a free market system, and it is not. We have a crony capitalist system where Government has granted itself the power to intervene in the economy through regulation, taxes, and subsidies. The only reason businesses spend time lobbying Government is because Government has the power to make rules about their business. There would be no reason to lobby the Government for favors if the Government didn’t have the power to grant these favors.
“Arthur C. Brooks, president at the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Who Really Cares,” shows that Americans are the most generous people on the face of the earth. In fact, if you look for generosity around the world, you find virtually all of it in countries that are closer to the free market end of the economic spectrum than they are to the socialist or communist end. Seeing as Pope Francis sees charity as a key part of godliness, he ought to stop demonizing capitalism.”
Understanding how free markets really work takes much deeper analysis than the shallow thinking enjoyed by utopian central planners, Marxists, and even well meaning Christians. If you read Walter E. Williams articles you will have a better understanding of economics than a vast majority of our politicians, teachers, journalists and yes even the Pope.
Related Article – Pope Says He Is Not A Marxist, But Defends Criticism Of Capitalism, by Lizzy Davies, at thegardian.com.
Related Article – Trickle Down And Tax Cuts, by Walter E. Williams, at creators.com.
Related Article – The “Trickle Down” Economics Straw Man, by Thomas Sowell, at capitalismmagazine.com
Related Article – Trickle Down Theory and Tax Cuts For The Rich, by Thomas Sowell, Hoover Institute Press. This is heavy lifting on the subject, but well worth the time.