Here’s a letter to the Boston Globe:
John Hill asserts that “The free market has many virtues, but by its nature it must remain callous to human suffering caused by illness” (Letters, Oct. 18).
Really? Take a walk down the pharmaceutical aisle in a typical modern supermarket. You’ll find shelves stuffed with analgesics, antihistamines, antiseptics, antifungal medicines, bandages, and nutritional supplements – all supplied by private, profit-seeking companies. Keep walking and you come to the store’s pharmacy, where you can buy yet other medicines – such as those that address serious illnesses like depression, hypertension, and high cholesterol – created and produced by private, profit-seeking firms.
It’s no wonder that my GMU colleague Peter Leeson found that, in countries that became more capitalist since 1980, average life-expectancy at birth has risen from less than 63 years to 67.5 years (by 2005). In countries that became less capitalist since 1980, life-expectancy at birth fell from 59 to 57 years.*
Thank goodness for “callous” capitalism.
Donald J. Boudreaux
* Peter T. Leeson, “Two Cheers for Capitalism?” (Working paper, 2009).