We wish each other "peace on earth." Wishing is not enough. We must act on this wish by promoting capitalism on earth.
Too many people (including some religious leaders) are promoting the idea that re-distribution of wealth or “social justice” is the best way to foster peace. But Christians and Jews need only read the Old Testament to see that God condemns stealing and envy so much that he gave Moses commandments like: “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, and “You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.”
And in the New Testament, Christ promoted capitalistic ideas. Christ’s allegories conveyed the basic principles of capitalism: freedom, ownership, profit, private property rights, honesty and justice.
How capitalism promotes peace
Men who are trading partners do not typically fight each other. For, they have an economic interest in maintaining friendly relations. And men who are free to pursue vocations that utilize their unique talents will be happier than those who are assigned to work in a specific industry by the state.
In Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, the federal government takes over all private industry. Dagny Taggart is the heroine whose private railroad company becomes bound and regulated by the federal government. Taggart realizes that socialist public policy has caused her once cheerful employees to loathe her and each other.
Taggart observes: “… she was both a slave and a driver of slaves, and so was every human being in the country, and hatred was the only thing that men could now feel for one another.”
Capitalism thrives on peace; ownership and prosperity encourage individual morality. But socialism thrives on chaos, riots and animosity. Dictators can control people who are poor, hopeless and weak easier than they can control people who are wealthy, confident and powerful. Rand observes in the June 1966 edition of The Objectivist newsletter: “Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by production.”
Specific action steps
Let me recommend specific action steps we can take to cultivate capitalism on earth:
1.) Trade freely with other countries. For example, I think Iran would deal more openly with our allies like Israel if it had an economic interest in maintaining friendly relations with America. Our current “tactics” of covertly launching cyber attacks (think Stuxnet and Flame) on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, enforcing extreme economic sanctions and using drones that breach Iran’s national sovereignty are inciting blowback while rendering diplomatic relations unfeasible.
2.) Reduce taxes and regulations. Our high taxes and regulations are encouraging American entrepreneurs to leave this country. (Think billionaire co-founder of Facebook Inc., Eduardo Saverin who renounced his U.S. citizenship in May to become a resident of Singapore.) TIME reports that a record number of American citizens (1,788 in 2011) are relinquishing their U.S. citizenship.
And jobs are leaving too. The world’s most valuable company, Apple, once made its computers in California but now must produce its technology in China in order to turn a profit.
As wealth and jobs flow away from America, it will be difficult for us to remain a peaceful country because we will be susceptible to both civil unrest and outside attacks.
3.) Eliminate the Federal Reserve. This unconstitutional agency is destroying the value of our currency and yoking the markets. And politicians can clandestinely spend money on futile wars because most people will not recognize inflation as a tax until it is too late.
“Ideologically, the principle of individual rights does not permit a man to seek his own livelihood at the point of a gun, inside or outside his country. Economically, wars cost money; in a free economy, where wealth is privately owned, the costs of war come out of the income of private citizens—there is no overblown public treasury to hide that fact—and a citizen cannot hope to recoup his own financial losses (such as taxes or business dislocations or property destruction) by winning the war. Thus his own economic interests are on the side of peace,” writes Ayn Rand in a treatise called “The Roots of War” in The Objectivist.
In other words, capitalism allows men to see the true cost of war because there is no central bank and the federal government does not manipulate the currency and the markets. In this way, capitalism naturally encourages men to avoid war.
Capitalism is the political system that promotes peace because capitalists know that war is inherently opposed to their financial interest and livelihood. During this holy season, let us each think about ways that we can act on our wish for “peace on earth” and promote capitalism in our daily lives.