Lately, MSNBC's Chris Matthews has been on a childish tear, taunting Republicans to admit their belief in the biblical account of the Creation. Someone ought to ask this paragon of smug self-satisfaction why, if he's so brilliant, he unquestioningly echoes the demagogic hyperbole of global warming fanatics hellbent on destroying the economic system responsible for producing unprecedented prosperity in the advanced industrialized world.
Oh, yes, it's fashionable to denounce capitalism these days, but the historical record is clear. As Richard C. Bayer documents in his 1999 book, "Capitalism and Christianity," the gross domestic products remained flat in the 1,000-year period from 500-1500 for all now-advanced industrial countries but rose geometrically with the advent of merchant capitalism (1700-1820) and modern capitalism (1820-present).
More specifically, "Real per capita U.S. GDP in 1989 ($18,317) was seventeen times what it was in 1820 ($1,048)," using 1985 real dollars. The growth rates of the other advanced industrial nations showed exponential jumps in that period, as well. But this track record didn't keep class warfare exponents in the 1930s from blaming our economic hardship on capitalistic exploitation, and it isn't keeping them from doing it today.
As long as people have different worldviews, there will be vigorous debates about the effectiveness, fairness and morality of capitalism compared with other economic systems. But common sense supports history's empirical evidence in validating the generalized notion that robust economic production will accompany political and economic liberty rather than command and control systems.
People will produce more when they are allowed to retain more of the fruits of their labor. You simply cannot expand the economic pie by separating rewards from efforts. To do so is a failsafe prescription for economic stagnation -- if not immediately, then in the long run. Yet the current administration and its wholly owned congressional partners have embarked on a course to destroy capitalism from every imaginable front.
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