Tag Archives: capitalism

Top Policy Analyst Tells TED What’s Really Solving Global Poverty

By Connor D. Wolf – A leading expert in the world of free markets took the stage recently to give a Ted Talk on how advances in trade have done more to solve global poverty than any one thing in human history.

American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks used his time Thursday to show how extreme poverty has been decreasing worldwide thanks to globalization, free-trade, property rights, rule of law and entrepreneurship. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading unique ideas by hosting a range of different speakers.

“There has been an 80 percent decline in poverty since I was a kid, and I didn’t even know about it,” Brooks told the audience. “It was the free enterprise system spreading around the world after 1970 that did that. Now I’m not naive, I know free enterprise isn’t perfect and I know free enterprise isn’t everything we need to build a better world, but that is great and that is beyond politics.”

Brooks said he started his career with no interest in politics and simply wanted to figure out how to solve poverty. He first asked whether poverty had increase since he was a child and was surprised to find out it has actually decreased. The startling revelation set him on a journey to find out why, and that journey led him to economics.

“Here’s what I learned, here’s the epiphany, capitalism isn’t just about accumulation,” Brooks continued. “At its best its about aspiration, which is what so many people on this stage talk about. The aspiration that comes from dreams that are embedded in the free enterprise system and we got to share it with more people.”

Brooks said knows addressing poverty through free markets can become a bipartisan solution if it’s allowed to rise above politics. President Barack Obama himself, Brooks recalled, even told him that capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty that any other economic system ever.

“This is the solution to the biggest problem facing America today,” Brooks added. “Its coming together around these ideas, liberals and conservatives, to help people that need is the most.”

The United Nations found through its own research that extreme poverty has indeed declined since the 1970s. The Libertarian Fraser Institute found that over the decades economic freedom has also increased worldwide. The decline in worldwide poverty is not true across the board, however, including in the United States. The U.S. Census Bureau found poverty nationally has increased from roughly 11 percent in the 1970s to 14.5 percent in 2013.

Follow Connor on Twitter



Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Rand Paul Challenges Bernie Sanders To Hour-Long Debate On Socialism vs. Capitalism

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) posted a video clip on Facebook on Thursday from a live broadcast on the Iowa-based talk radio station WHO NewsRadio 1040 in which he can be seen challenging Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) to a debate.

We’ve been saying what a fun, dramatic, and informative debate it would be if Bernie Sanders and I could have an hour-long debate. Can you imagine? Debating over what rights are versus what obligations are and debating socialism versus capitalism,” said Sen. Paul.

He continued, “See Bernie… he says, ‘Oh, I believe in a benign form of socialism, democratic socialism.’ But here’s the problem—if a majoritarian takes away your rights, it’s not any different or less bad than an authoritarian taking away your rights.

[RELATED: Petition: A Joint Town Hall with Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders]

We had this debate over whether majorities were correct a long time ago when we had Jim Crow laws. In the south, legislatures, majorities passed laws saying segregation, separate-but-equal was O.K. So they discriminated against a whole group of people in America. But that was a majority. A majority is not always right, and I think that you have rights that come from your creator that precede government that can not, should not, and must not be taken away from you by a majority, and I really, really object to Bernie’s understanding of what rights are,” added Paul.

Senator Paul challenges Bernie Sanders to a debate and talks socialism. Live on whoradio.com #StandwithRand

Posted by Rand Paul on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Earlier this year, Truth in Media reported in an exclusive interview with Kentucky-based libertarian activist Donald Meinshausen that Senator Paul had said that he would be willing to debate Bernie Sanders “anytime, anyplace.” Truth in Media subsequently launched a petition offering to host a town hall debate between the two candidates in New Hampshire, which has already reached over 5,000 signatures.

In October, Joshua Cook of Truth in Media spoke with Rand Paul, who agreed to participate in the town hall. Bernie Sanders’ campaign offered the reply, “No comment.”

It has been theorized that Democratic National Committee rules may prevent Sanders from debating Paul in an officially-sanctioned event, but on the other hand, the fact that Paul and Sanders are both U.S. senators who would ordinarily debate each other under the course of their typical duties may limit the DNC’s ability to block the two from participating in a joint town hall.

For more election coverage, click here.

VIDEO: Clinton delivers her version of Obama’s, “You didn’t create that.”

BOSTON, October 27, 2014- Last Friday, at a campaign event for Massachusetts’ Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley in Boston, Hillary Clinton slipped up and revealed what many have always known to be her true views towards capitalism and free markets.

During her stump speech Clinton stated, “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs. You know that old theory, trickledown economics. That has been tried, that has failed. It has failed rather spectacularly. One of the things my husband says when people say, ‘What did you bring to Washington?’ He says, ‘I brought arithmetic.’ ”

Trickle down economics, also known as supply-side economics, is the theory at the heart of capitalism and free markets. The economic principle encompasses the theory that cutting taxes and lessening the amount of business regulations will in turn free up capital and enable businesses to grow, businesses which will in turn hire more employees and stimulate the economy.

Clinton joins the ranks of several other democrats who have slipped up in speeches and revealed their true feelings towards capitalism. In a 2012 campaign speech, President Barack Obama famously stated, “You didn’t build that” in relation to small business owners in America.

This is also not the first gaffe Clinton has made herself. In June of this year while promoting her latest book Clinton famously made the claim that she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, were “dead broke” when they left the White House. The claim was rated as “mostly false” by PolitiFact.com.

The former Secretary of State is expected to be a contender in the 2016 Presidential race though she has yet to announce her candidacy. Clinton is largely expected to receive the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2016 if she announces her campaign.

You can watch the full clip of Clinton’s remarks here.


Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & Twitter.

Capitalism Is Progressive – and Must Go On the Offensive

If much of the economic commentary in the mainstream media is to be believed, the rising inequality of wealth in Anglo societies and the crashing of our economy by the big banks and financial class make the problems of capitalism not just evident but self-evident.

Such claims are made, of course, against a background of hundreds of years of capitalist growth that has, for the overwhelming bulk of our population, made affordable the books that these claimants have presumably read, the computers on which they type, the Internet on which they do their research, the air-conditioning or central heating in the room where they do it, and even the food in their bellies – food of a variety and quality unparalleled in history.

But this background of utter success is taken so much for granted that it is almost entirely invisible.

With centuries of evidence fofr the power of economic liberty, and the recent memory of an economic crisis that was nothing to do with the principles of capitalism and everything to do with the one part of the economy that is the least capitalist of all – big banking – acting, no less, within decidedly anti-capitalist parameters set by the state, why on earth is the liberty movement letting this mainstream “capitalism is the problem” narrative get any air at all?

Why are supporters of a free economy allowing their principles to be so entirely misrepresented, leaving them to engage in weak, piecemeal defenses against a debate framed by their political opponents?

When a free-market supporter hears a left-leaning commentator talk about the banking sector, he may well be quick enough to point out that the bank bailouts were not free-market actions, but the opposite. The claim is generally heard defensively in response to some criticism of capitalism. Similarly, when free-traders are accused of supporting a system that exacerbates economic inequality, the free-market supporter points out, defensively, that it’s not the free trade that is ultimately responsible for inequality but a financial system that concentrates wealth in a banking sector that enjoys special privileges. Or he might point out the anti-competitive nature of a system where large corporations can influence the writing of regulations by legislators whose campaign they fund and who exercise too much power in the first place. The effect, they point out, is to enable them to price smaller competitors out of the marketplace. Nothing capitalist about any of that at all.

However, such defenses when offered as part of a “capitalism’s not that bad” argument will not put the true principles of economic freedom into the mainstream consciousness in a way that will attract enough popular support to put the country back on the right track. Defensive positions generally inspire no one.

Rather, popular support for the free-market as the best way back to prosperity and economic justice depends on its supporters’ making a passionate, positive, and systematic case for capitalism. Rather than arguing on the finer points of the free market among ourselves, we need to focus on presenting an easily understandable, even populist version of economic liberty that is as coherent and complete as the palpably false case against it. I say “palpably false” because it depends on a definition of capitalism that is not only incorrect: it often defines capitalism as the very opposite of what it is – such as when it refers to the trading of derivatives, which do not represent any asset, in an environment in which losses are socialized by the state – as in some way the epitome of a capitalist system, when it is closer to being a mockery of it.

The type of banking that brought us to the private debt crisis that triggered the current collapse is not capitalist. If anything, it is anti-capitalist because it violates at least two fundamental principles of free economic activity. First, capitalism requires informed, voluntary transactions between two parties that benefit both parties involved (the principle of subjective value), and do no harm to a third party (protection of individual rights and property). Second, capitalism requires that, down to the lower bound of bankruptcy, those who take economic risks bear the full consequences of those risks. We might also add that having people store their wealth in an instrument that is actually someone else’s debt arguably violates both principles, especially when a cadre of market-making private corporations (treated in law as immortal people – nothing capitalist about that) have state-given privileges to do things with money that others may not do (nothing capitalist about that, either).

“Capitalists against financial corporatism” isn’t very catchy as a slogan, but if we are going to dominate the mainstream, it is the kind of counter-intuitive and bold (and therefore potentially persuasive) position we should be taking front and center. The financial system is much more of a state-sponsored, centralized and elitist concoction than it is a capitalist one, but since it sells itself as capitalism, those of us who really care about economic freedom, need to be very explicit about having the solution to much of the economic injustice of the last few years, rather than being the cause of it.

Rapidly rising economic inequality in favor of an elite is the deeper, moral issue that rightly feeds the fires of much of the Left and must be addressed. Supporters of the free-market should be embracing the issue – raising it more loudly, robustly and systemically than any of the Left who would seek to use it against us. Economic justice is our ground, and we should be on the offensive, declaring proudly that, even if we don’t have all of the answers, we are capitalists precisely because we want more economic justice, not less, and we want to promote equality in a way that adds more value across society than it destroys.

The Occupy movement talk about the 99%. They have the right point – but they have the wrong number. Most of the top 1% have much more in common with 99% than with the top 0.1%. Strip out that top 0.1% and inequality falls dramatically. The distribution of income in the USA, for example, is an L-shape – and most of its disproportionate concentration of wealth (disproportionate to real value that its holders have created for others, that is) depends on the aforementioned financial sector that operates, in many respects, in the least capitalist way of any sector of our economy.

Supporters of free markets let the Left (excuse the label) get away with way too much when we do not challenge its claim that in a capitalist system, economic progress depends on inequality. It doesn’t. Rather, it depends on the freedom of people to try to make themselves unequal – in whatever way they choose, including economically. (Is that a definition of liberty?) A “free market”, defined as nothing more than the sum-total of people’s voluntary transactions made for mutual benefit, is both “free” and a “market” with any income distribution. In a capitalist system, (rather than state-sponsored financial corporatism), economic success comprises entirely in giving people something they want. Consumers make purchases only when the thing bought is more valuable to the purchaser than is the money they spend for it (the principle of subjective value). The capitalist, on the other side of the transactions, values the money more than the goods or services he has created. This indeed concentrates wealth – but only to an extent that is counterbalanced by the distribution of value among those who transacted with the capitalist. These capitalists are not the people who crashed our economy. So it is not capitalism that is our culprit.

Schumpeter nicely summed up this truly progressive magic of capitalism.

The capitalist engine is first and last an engine of mass production which unavoidably also means production for the masses. . . . It is the cheap cloth, the cheap cotton and rayon fabric, boots, motorcars and so on that are the typical achievements of capitalist production, and not as a rule improvements that would mean much to the rich man. Queen Elizabeth owned silk stockings. The capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within reach of factory girls. 

Clearly, the only parts of our political economy that do not work this way are the state (which concentrates wealth through taxation without a corrective mechanism when the transaction destroys value), much of the financial sector, and fraudulently operated business (and in a capitalist system, fraud is a crime).

Schumpeter’s quote also tells us why simple measures of the distribution of financial wealth, so often quoted in the mainstream media, can be misleading. The Gini coefficient of inequality, for example, is a useful metric for some comparative purposes, but if financial wealth concentrates upward over time but does so more slowly than innovation makes better goods available to those with less wealth, then an increasing number of people get to enjoy goods that were previously only available to the super-rich. In such a case, the distribution of real wealth or value through the society may become more equal even as the financial wealth distribution becomes less equal. In short, it’s not the money that matters as much as what you can do with the money you have.

By failing to explain clearly what the free market is (and isn’t), including how it provides a way out of the economic turmoil felt by so many families, classical liberals continue to let the big-“L” Liberals equate “the free market” with things that are nothing to do with it. In so doing, we risk not only losing the political argument, but, more importantly, adding to the very social and economic injustices that we would all like to see overcome.

For example, the principles of capitalism do not require that corporations are treated as immortal people in law.

Capitalism does not require – indeed it does not permit – that corporations go unpunished when they harm people they do not transact with. Capitalism is not even opposed to organized labor. Rather, it champions the best kind of organized labor – labor that organizes voluntarily. Voluntary membership of unions is important to ensure that union leaders do not become exploitative masters in place of unscrupulous employers. It also ensures that their organizations have to earn their membership fees by providing a service of value to their members without causing (usually financial) harm to those who would not join.

Capitalism doesn’t keep people in slums in the third world; rather, it gets them out. Why? Simply because capitalism depends on the establishment and securing of personal property rights. As Hernando de Soto – one economist that has earned the right to call himself progressive in the very best sense of the term – has explained, formerly destitute South Americans are being lifted out of the gutter into true economic opportunity by the most uniquely capitalist action of all: the formal recognition and registration of their property in the land and shacks that they have inhabited for years without any formal recognition, is making millions of the poor solvent, turning the products of their labor into actual financial wealth and collateral that can be used to raise credit.

Then there’s China, which has seen the fastest reduction of poverty in history by allowing individuals to transact with each other freely over the last generation. And what most threatens its success? Their artificially massive, highly state-corrupted banking sector, and a property asset bubble pumped up by the State’s financial controls that prevent privately saved money’s being invested freely … Once again, we see the gains that were provided by capitalism endangered by anti-capitalist practices in finance and regulation. And of course, if it all comes crashing down, they’ll call it capitalism’s fault, as so many have done in the West.

I’ve obviously not mentioned hundreds of issues that bear on economic injustice in our modern world, and I’ve not even claimed that a purely capitalist society (whatever that would be) is the best possible society. Nevertheless, the evident economic and social injustices that are being suffered today are much less caused by capitalism than they are mitigated by it. Moreover, those parts of our political economy that most need reforming for the truly progressive ends of improving the lives of the poor, working people, and the middle class, are the least capitalistic of all.

When it comes to big ideas, offense is often the best form of defense. And when it comes to political change, a big, clear, positive message beats a negative or reactionary one almost every time.

Most of the damage that has recently been done to economic and social justice in the Western world is evidence for proper capitalism – not evidence against it. We need actively to excite people about what proper capitalism is. It is not financial state-sponsored crony corporatism.

Classical liberals should stop conceding the initiative by defending capitalism in spite of its impact on social and economic justice; we should be seizing it by actively promoting capitalism because of its impact on social and economic justice.

Why bother? Because in providing a mainstream account of what capitalism really is and explicitly setting ourselves against those who have stretched its definition beyond breaking point, we who would promote liberty, can set ourselves squarely with the people.

And it is almost always “with the people” that liberty is won.

Collectivists Posing As “Anarchists” Demand $3 Billion From Google

San Francisco, CA- A group of anti-capitalist protesters referring to themselves as “anarchists” demonstrated outside the home of Digg founder and Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose on Sunday, and demanded that Google hand over $3 billion to fund the creation of “autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.”

The protest was allegedly organized by a group called The Counterforce, and they call Rose a “meta-leech” who is to blame for the rising cost of living in the Bay Area. Rose has invested heavily in several tech startups, and these startups have moved to the Bay Area to run their businesses. The protesters claim that the tech companies that Rose invested in are overtaking the area and driving out people who are less wealthy:

“Venture capitalists enable these tech-workers by funding their startups. With the success of each startup, more and more ambitious tech-workers flock to the city and displace underemployed service workers to the cities at the far reaches of the BART line. These workers must then commute back to San Francisco or Oakland every morning, in most cases to perform menial tasks for the entitled scum who drove them out in the first place.”

The Counterforce group abhors capitalism, technological companies and innovations, and entrepreneurs. In their public statement, they believe this $3 billion will create a society where “no one will ever have to pay rent and housing will be free. With this three billion from Google, we will solve the housing crisis in the Bay Area and prove to the world that an anarchist world is not only possible but in fact irrepressible.” The Counterforce takes themselves seriously, too- if Google doesn’t acquiesce to their demand, they say to “get ready for a revolution neither you nor we can control.”

Rose has agreed with the group in their frustration over the Bay Area’s cost of living. “That said, I did agree w/ them that we need to solve rising rents, keep the SF culture, and crack down on landlords booting folks out,” said Rose on Twitter. “SF is such a great place, definitely need to figure out a way to keep the diversity.”

This isn’t the first time The Counterforce has targeted Google. In January, a Google engineer faced protests from them concerning his work on the company’s self-driving car.

Interestingly, this protest group was able to make their demonstration possible because of Google. In their statement, it’s noted that Microsoft Word, MacBook, Samsung Nexus (powered by Google), Gmail, and Youtube are among different tech products and services used by The Counterforce in their protests.



Follow Annabelle on Twitter.


Pope Views Capitalism As The New Tyranny

“How is it not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it’s news when the market loses two points?”
–Pope Francis

Pope Francis is making international news again this week, criticizing the global economic system, attacking “idolatry of money,” and pleading with politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education, and healthcare.”

The Catholic Church has been criticized itself over the years for a number of issues, and it’s worship of wealth is one of the top points of critique. Reports circulated last fall that the Catholic Church spent $170 Billion in fiscal year 2012 through charities it owns or subsidiaries of the Vatican .

Put into perspective, only 16 US companies had revenues over $170 Billion. Apple had $157 Billion in revenues.

The Church is also the largest charitable organization in the U.S. Its main group, Catholic Charities USA, along with its subsidiaries, reportedly has a paid staff of more than 65,000 and serves more than 10 million people. The Economist says CCUSA distributed nearly $5 Billion in aid to the poor in 2010. On the negative side, the Catholic Church has paid out around $3.3 billion in settlements regarding molestation of children.

Another black eye was delivered to the Church a few weeks ago, when “Bishop Bling Bling” (Franz-Peter Tebartz van Elst) was suspended as the Bishop of Limburg, for having spent $42 Million on the renovation of his residential complex.

As for the impact of the Pope’s message, about 1 in 7 people on the planet self-identify as Catholic (Catholic world population is 1.2 billion.) So the Pope’s message does carry tremendous influence, even for those who are not Catholic.

This week the Pope released his 84 page apostolic exhortation, and calls unfettered capitalism “tyranny.” He urges the rich to share their wealth. “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills.” Francis wrote in the document issued Tuesday.

“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security,” he wrote.

The 76-year old pontiff calls for an overhaul of the global financial system and warns that unequal distribution of wealth inevitably leads to violence. “As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation, and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems or, for that matter, to any problems,” he wrote.

Denying this was simple populism, he called for action”beyond a simple welfare mentality,” and added “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor.”

The Pope has recently made headlines by embracing and kissing an extremely disfigured man, as well as saying the Church needs to “stop” being “obsessed” with gays, birth control, and abortion. As for the issue of gays, the Pope said, “who am I to judge?”

Bitcoin Is Soaring but Beware Mt. Gox

This piece is less about some new factoid regarding Bitcoin, about the fact that Bitcoin is now over $500 or once again how Bitcoin is a great example of capitalism at work.

No, this piece is actually just a brief mention of my experience with Bitcoin services.  I was first introduced to Bitcoin by Roger Ver, aka “Bitcoin Jesus”.  He is an investor in Blockchain.info and owner of BitcoinStore.com.  Let me just say that in the time that I have been dealing with Bitcoin, I have been extremely happy with my Blockchain wallet.  I have also been very impressed with what can be found for sale at Bitcoinstore.com.

In fact, my overall journey into Bitcoin was great until about 6 weeks ago when I attempted to “cash out” some Bitcoin through the trading giant Mt. Gox.  Big mistake.  After setting up my account and selling some Bitcoin, I found the process to withdraw my US dollars was actually lengthier than I had expected.  The statement on Mt. Gox’s website states that “some withdraws can take up to 2 weeks.”  That was ok, I wasn’t in a huge hurry.

Two weeks went by, then three.  I reached out to the support team at Mt. Gox asking them for a status update on my account and the only response I received informed me that withdraws were taking longer than usual.  Another two weeks passed and still no deposit into my account and no new response from Mt. Gox.  So I reached out again.  The automated response was basically the same, that withdraws were taking longer than usual and that I was “expected” to be patient.  I responded by wanting to know how long I would be waiting and what the timeline for this deposit looked like.

When I finally heard back, the response was simple, there was no timeline for receiving that withdraw.  On the other hand, I was told that for a fee, my withdraw could be “manually” done.  What?  For the past 5 weeks, my understanding was that this was exactly what was happening.  Now, I am going to be “charged” extra for the manual process and furthermore, the manual process would take “up to two weeks”.

So here I was 6 weeks later with no additional money in my bank and no Bitcoins in my Mt. Gox account.  My only solution was to have the money returned to my Mt. Gox account where I was able to “buy” new Bitcoins which are now over $500.  That means I was able to purchase back only a fraction of the Bitcoins I sold and I am in the process of sending those coins back to my Blockchain wallet.

Again, I am new to the Bitcoin world.  There are many of you out there who would likely have told me the “better way” of getting this done.  Perhaps I should have asked for the advice in the first place.

The beauty of the free market is the free exchange between parties.  In fact, as I have said in the past, in my opinion, Bitcoin is the worlds best example of capitalism, but lets be clear, capitalism isn’t all sunshine and lollypops.  In the free market, there are risks, challenges and difficulties.  Today, I better understand the risks of dealing with Bitcoin and companies like Mt. Gox.  My failure to fully understand who I was dealing with and assuming that the company would operate competently was my mistake.  It is a lesson that has cost me both time and money.  If you are new to Bitcoin, I hope that through my mistakes, you can avoid a similar situation.

Once again, it is the free market.  It is true capitalism.  In fact, Mt. Gox and the rise in Bitcoin value, to me, best represent the best and worst of the Bitcoin “free market” at the same time.

In the comments below, please share your Bitcoin story.

$27 Worth Of Bitcoins In 2009 Cashed In For $886K

Ben Swann recently published a report of how bitcoin is a new frontier of capitalism. You can watch that report in the video below. Those who were wise enough, or perhaps just lucky enough, to have invested in the concept early on are seeing massive payouts.

Bitcoin recently tanked after a major trading market called “The Silk Road” was shut down. However, bitcoin is on the rise again. Today one coin trades for more than $200 USD. As Ben Swann reports, bitcoin is extremely volatile. However, its appeal is the currency’s lack of government intervention.

Almost by accident, Kristoffer Koch spent 150 kroner (less than $27 USD) to purchase 5,000 bitcoins while writing his thesis on encryption in 2009. After forgetting about his purchase, media began to cover the recent bitcoin boom, which occurred just before the Silk Road was shut down. He then recalled his investment. Now, the 5, 000 bitcoins are worth $886,000 USD. Koch traded in 1/5 of his 5k bitcoins to purchase a high-end apartment in a wealthy region of the Norwegian capital.

Koch’s success story is sure to give the bitcoin market another bump as news of the huge payout goes viral.