James Bowman writes: They’re demonstrating in Seattle about “capitalism” again. Young people, presumably of the hip variety now famed for supporting Bernie Sanders, rioted there on May Day.
“You’ve got to wonder how, for all those centuries, nobody realized that they were either oppressed or oppressing merely by marrying and having children—just as it never occurred to either employers or employees that they were part of a system, whether called ‘capitalism’ or something else, until patently self-interested socialist theorists came up with a rival system that, they said, would solve all their problems.”
The Seattle Times reported nine arrests and several injuries to police, including one officer who was bitten. Meanwhile, James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute, noting that a recent survey found 51 percent of young people, aged 18–29 described themselves as not supporting capitalism, wondered if the c-word “really isn’t the right word for the free enterprise system, the deep magic that has made America the richest, most powerful nation on Earth.”
“The system should rather be called ‘technological and institutional betterment at a frenetic pace, tested by unforced exchange among all the parties involved.’ Or ‘fantastically successful liberalism, in the old European sense, applied to trade and politics, as it was applied also to science and music and painting in literature.’ The simplest version is ‘trade-tested progress.’”
I hope it will not sound immodest in me if I mention that this is what I have been saying for years. As I wrote back in June of 2002, “capitalism” is simply the socialist word for life. You can tell because even under socialism there is still capitalism, in the form of the black market.
You can’t replace an organic growth of human enterprise and ingenuity with a merely theoretical system designed by intellectuals to transform fallen humanity into a perfect society.
Mr Pethokoukis’s point is to promote “Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World, by Deirdre McCloskey….(read more)