Café Hayek tipped me off to this article by Ross Kaminsky, answering the charge by Paul Farrell that “capitalism is killing our morals, our future.”
He summarizes Farrell’s argument:
…since today’s economic arrangements don’t suggest the same interest by society at large in the things he thinks most important such as financial equality, publicly-funded health care and education, and public spaces free of advertising, it must be the fault of capitalism, which is to say the fault of freedom itself.
Farrell’s criticism of the market economy is a way of saying he disapproves of the choices being freely made by his fellow citizens, and he answers the Farrell’s charge that ‘the good things in life are degraded if turned into commodities.’
This turns reality on its head. If good things in life are turned into commodities, it means that (unlike in non-capitalist countries) those who are not rich can afford them. Even the poor in America are rich by world standards.
What is truly immoral is suggesting that capitalism is harming us by making so many goods and services affordable to the ordinary American.
Discussing the issue in income inequality,
If a poor person is much less poor than she was a few years ago, is she going to focus her attentions on whether the rich man has $10M or $20M…or $2B? Unless the rich are getting rich by theft or corruption, the answer is manifestly no. And unlike the left’s frequent suggestions that capitalism and corruption are two sides of the same coin, truly free markets and limited government minimize the ability of corruptocrats and their rent-seeking cronies to profit off the backs of customers and taxpayers.
George Mason University Professor of Economics Don Boudreaux often reminds his students that the most important question in economics is “compared to what?“ When it comes to the academic left’s negative views of capitalism, it is a question they never seem to ask.