Don’t Throw Me Into that Briar Patch!

by Don Boudreaux on January 31, 2010

in Myths and Fallacies, Regulation, Seen and Unseen

Here’s a letter that I sent to the Washington Post:

While at the Davos World Economic Forum, David Ignatius was apparently surprised that “When Sarkozy had finished his anti-capitalist rant, he got a standing ovation from an audience made up mostly of wealthy capitalists” (“Populism popular at the World Economic Forum in Davos,” Jan. 31).

Nothing is surprising about this fact.  To the extent that trade – both national and international – is restricted, incumbent capitalists are shielded from what Joseph Schumpeter called the “gale of creative destruction.”  Subsidies and tariffs always protect established capitalists from having to compete with new rivals, new products, and new ways of doing business.  Such “anti-capitalist” protection harms not only upstart entrepreneurs; most importantly, it hurts the countless unseen and unrepresented consumers who are denied the gains they would have enjoyed from the innovation and competition that are squelched by the “anti-capitalist” restrictive policies that seem so in vogue today at Davos.

Show me an “anti-capitalist” policy and I’ll show you wealthy capitalists who applaud it loudly.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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