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Don’t Throw Me Into that Briar Patch!

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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 [2],” 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 [3] 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.

Donald J. Boudreaux