Despite some nits that I could pick, this essay in National Review by Jonah Goldberg is deep and profound. (HT Betsy Albaugh) A slice:
Virtually every objective, empirical measure that capitalism’s critics value improved with the emergence of Western liberal-democratic capitalism. Did it happen overnight? Sadly, no. But in evolutionary terms, it did.
Among economists and anthropologists, this is “settled science.” Economists left and right might bicker over minor details, but they agree that poverty is man’s natural environment. As economist Todd G. Buchholz puts it, “For most of man’s life on earth, he has lived no better on two legs than he had on four.” Nobel Prize–winning economist Douglass C. North and his colleagues write in Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History that “over the long stretch of human history before 1800, the evidence suggests that the long-run rate of growth of per capita income was very close to zero.” Economic historian David S. Landes is not exaggerating when he writes, “The Englishman of 1750 was closer in material things to Caesar’s legionnaires than to his own great-grandchildren.” For roughly 7,500 generations, everywhere in the world — ancient China and Rome, medieval Europe and Aztec-era Mexico — the average person lived on the equivalent of $3 per day.
Bob Higgs warns us to think twice before bringing lost manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. Here’s Bob’s conclusion:
Those who long to bring back factory employment, I strongly suspect, have not given much thought to the nature of such work. It wears men and women down, making them old before their time. One of the great benefits of economic development is that such employment becomes a steadily less prominent part of total employment.
Merrill Matthews busts some myths about tariffs. (I disagree with him, though, that tariffs are inflationary, but that’s a post, perhaps, for another time.)
David Harsanyi explains that if the recent Congressional hearings featuring Mark Zuckerberg prove anything, it’s that Congress has no business regulating Facebook. (It galls me to witness politicians, most of whom have never produced anything of value in their lives and who are in the business of using force to achieve their ends, sit self-righteously in judgment of someone who has indeed produced immense value for his fellow human beings – human beings who deal with him peacefully and voluntarily.)