Daily Adams

Capitalism

Open Borders

The right of consenting individuals to be left in peace by the government is the heart of freedom.  It doesn’t matter if the individuals are white or black, men or women, Christian or atheist; consenting adults of all stripes have the right to engage in consensual capitalist acts.

The case for open borders begins with a follow-up question: If race, gender, and religion don’t matter here, why should nationality?  Suppose I want to hire a Chinese citizen to work in my factory, and he wants to work in my factory.  Or suppose I want to rent my apartment to a Romanian citizen, and she wants to accept my offer.  It seems like government should leave us alone, too.  If it did, open borders – a world where every non-criminal is free to live and work in any country on earth – would result.

Via The Freedom-Loving Case for Open Borders, Bryan Caplan | EconLog @ Library of Economics and Liberty.

Eye of the Beholder

When Florida Senator Marco Rubio voted against a transportation funding bill in December, he said one of his main objections was that it “preserves Washington’s power in picking winners and losers in transportation funding, and even revives the crony capitalist Export-Import Bank,” an agency that provides export financing for American goods.

Rubio, however, also likes to pick winners and losers. He supports sugar subsidies, explaining to Chuck Todd on Meet the Press in January, “ I believe agriculture, unlike any other industry, should be treated a little differently…. We are competing against other countries that don’t have our regulations, don’t have our labor laws and subsidize their own industries.… I am prepared to get rid of the sugar program tomorrow if the countries we compete against get rid of theirs.”

Via Crony Capitalism Is Evil…Except for Mine, Say Republicans @ Newsweek.

Big Business v. Markets

In 2014 big business opposed several of the most free-market members of Congress, and even a Ron Paul-aligned Georgia legislator who opposed taxpayer funding for the Atlanta Braves.

The U.S. chamber jumped into a Republican primary in Grand Rapids, Mich., to try to take down Rep. Justin Amash, probably the most pro-free-enterprise and most libertarian member of Congress. Free-market groups, including the Club for Growth, Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity, strongly backed Mr. Amash.

And now the chamber plans to spend up to $100 million on the 2016 campaign. Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, reports, “Some of business’ top targets in 2016 will be right-wing, tea party candidates, the types that have bucked the corporate agenda in Congress by supporting government shutdowns, opposing an immigration overhaul and attempting to close the Export-Import Bank.” Politico adds a highway bill to big business’ list of grievances against fiscal conservatives.

This clash between pro-market and pro-business is an old one. Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” to denounce mercantilism, the crony capitalism of his day. Milton Friedman said at a 1998 conference: “There’s a common misconception that people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Via David Boaz: The Divide between Pro-Market and Pro-Business @ Cato.org.

Dems Smear Capitalism

Bernie Sanders makes no attempt to differentiate between crony capitalism and decent hardworking businessmen. Hillary Clinton actually does this for a minute in her response to Sanders, but then goes on to regurgitate the current absurd, but fashionable, anti-inequality view that is being pushed on the masses.

Via Sanders, Clinton Clash on Capitalism at Democratic Debate Last Night @ Economic Policy Journal.

Fearing Voluntary Transactions

“One of the things I am fascinated by is the degree to which some people are seriously afraid of free enterprise, the voluntary exchange of goods and services, of capitalism. It is bizarre to me as it seems pretty self evident that where free enterprise is allowed to flourish people also flourish. History has shown…

Practical Virtue of Voluntary Exchange

The marketplace uniquely melds altruism and self-interest. Take Bill Gates, the man who pioneered the personal computer revolution. By empowering computer users everywhere, he became the world’s richest man; and now he is giving all his wealth away. Was he motivated by selfishness? Or was he altruistically trying to create the greatest good for the greatest number? The beauty of the marketplace is that Gates’ motivation doesn’t matter. You get pretty much the same result either way.

In a voluntary exchange, both parties are made better off. Moreover new entrants into a real market are opportunities for more mutually beneficial exchanges. But under zero sum rationing, other people are a threat. One person’s gain is invariably another person’s loss. One person’s place in the bread line is a place another cannot have. One person’s state-owned housing unit is an apartment another cannot have.

Via Capitalism, Socialism, and the Pope @ Independent Institute.

Cookie Production Inspires

WASHINGTON—Admitting the startling discovery had compelled him to reexamine his long-held beliefs, His Holiness Pope Francis announced Tuesday that he had reversed his critical stance toward capitalism after seeing the immense variety of Oreos available in the United States. “Oh, my goodness, look at all these! Golden Oreos, Cookie Dough Oreos, Mega Stuf Oreos, Birthday Cake Oreos—perhaps the system of free enterprise is not as terrible as I once feared,” said the visibly awed bishop of Rome while visiting a Washington, D.C. supermarket….

Via Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos.

The Morality of Capitalism

[Father] Sirico, however, told CNBC in an interview that free markets are wrongly conflated with the urge to splurge on goods, or idolizing material wealth. Capitalism, Sirico insisted, is far more than that.

“The economic question with regard to morality is a subset of a broader theological question: Is human freedom compatible with religious beliefs?” said Sirico, the head the Acton Institute, a right-leaning think tank that studies the nexus between religion and liberty.

Sirico expressed broad agreement with the Pope on those left behind, but at the same time said laissez-faire capitalism and entrepreneurship is still the best way to address the challenges of poverty and economic need.

“If you love the poor, it’s not enough to have good intentions,” he said. “You can wish the poor to have bread, but if you don’t build bakeries and factories, the poor don’t get it.”

Via Capitalism is moral, and it works: Catholic priest @ Against Crony Capitalism.

The Limits of China Under Communism

There is no historical example of a closed imperial economy facing large capital-driven, open states and sustainably competing over a long term. That is not to say that China isn’t an economic powerhouse and a remarkable site of energy and potential. It is certainly both. But we also know Chinese debt — as secret as the state likes to keep it — is enormous, and that its financial system is like any other bubble. It is predicated on inflated earnings reports and expectations. The great “Beijing Consensus,” China’s absolute commitment to showing 8% growth every year, is unsustainable, at least through legitimate means. And without it, China is beginning to look like an enormous totalitarian ponzi scheme — a phenomenon common enough in world history, but extremely dangerous be near in the long run.

Via China: The new Spanish Empire?   

Capitalism Boosts Africa

Thank goodness people are ‘exploiting’ Africa by buying things from it, by investing in it, by employing people in it,” says Leon Louw, author, policy analyst, and executive director the South Africa-based think tank The Free Market Foundation. “The worst thing that would happen is if people decide to stop exploiting Africa.

The End of Doom

Cancer rates are down in America. Lifespans are up all over. Food is more abundant. Poverty is in decline. Critical to this progress is technology. Ronald Bailey discusses how and why to keep that ingenuity coming in his new book, The End of Doom.