Capitalism=Freedom

Laura Sigman, Period 7

Too much government intervention results in repression, not freedom, so true freedom is to be found only in societies in which the government does not intervene. Capitalism makes us freer because the government uses a hands-off approach that leaves the individual free to think rationally and act purposefully.

In a capitalist system, people work for incentives, and there is no better incentive than money. People need money to buy things, essential or otherwise. People work harder to move up to better jobs so they can get paid more. In a capitalist system, people earn what they work for; wealth is not just handed to them for the sake of everyone being equal. If the government were to distribute wealth equally, they would be taking away the people’s incentive to work harder for better jobs. Wealth is not a collective resource to be distributed to the masses by the government. Although it may not seem fair that in capitalist countries like America there are the very wealthy and the extremely poor, it is fair that the results of labor should belong to those who have done said labor. If your school took your straight “A” report card and distributed your grades to someone who had all “F”s, so that you could both get “C”s, would you think that was fair? Even if you giving up your straight “A”s meant that another person would not have to go to summer school, you worked hard for your grades. The person who received failing grades deserved them as much as you deserved your “A”s. Free market economies give more freedom to their citizens because the “citizens are free to choose how they want to integrate themselves into the economy.” [1]

Although socialists like Karl Marx argue the capitalist economy consists of a bunch of big, greedy corporations in which the working man is only a means of production and is ultimately powerless, capitalism actually “transfers the majority of economic power in the hands of the buying public.” [2] Why do you think corporations like Apple, Chevron, or Walmart grow so big? They serve the public better than their competitors, thus gaining more customers and growing bigger. However big a corporation will get, they are doomed if they stop considering how they will best serve their customers. The government is not forcing people to buy from these big corporations. People are free to buy from one company over another because they see the advantage of the company they want to buy from. This gives the economic power to the consumers. Freedom implies the right to agree and disagree. Capitalist governments give their citizens more freedom because private businesses are in the control of the citizens and nobody is prevented from attaining more wealth by serving consumers better than their competitors and the consumers are free to choose between various products and companies without government intervention.

It is ridiculous to discredit the achievements of capitalism by saying that there are better things more essential to mankind than better and faster computers, color television, cell phones, and refrigerators, for these technologies were all invented because individuals have the freedom to create and start their own businesses. There are certainly higher pursuits than developing the next iPhone model, but this is not the fault of capitalism. True freedom allows individuals to work to what they deem beneficial to themselves.

Although Aristotle argues that the retail trade capitalism promotes is not in accordance with “the good of humanity”, we need retail trade to obtain necessities. [3] Not everyone is a hunter or a gatherer or partakes in other means of “natural acquisition. [4]” We need a currency because how else are we going to get food? Not everyone has the means to hunt or to farm their own crops. The world has progressed to a point to where people can go to their local grocery store and choose from a variety of food to buy as they please. The money people use to pay for their food supports the grocery stores and that money is used to pay the farmers for their labor. Aristotle is ridiculous in believing that retail trade is a bad thing. Does he honestly expect people to never seek out progress? We have progressed way beyond that of a hunter-gatherer society and there is nothing wrong with that. Retail trade is one of the essential components in a capitalist society that gives its citizens the freedom to choose.

The purpose of a government is to make possible the operation of a “system of social cooperation under the idea of the division of labor.” [5] In a capitalist society, one can choose where they want to integrate themselves into the frame of social cooperation, once again proving that capitalism makes us freer because we have the power to choose. In a socialist society, the government is totalitarian. Every citizen is subject to the commands of the government. The government controls the economy so individuals are not free to plan for themselves.

Other than earning money, men work so they can attain property that is all their own. We, as Americans, have the right to liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. A capitalist country gives its citizens the liberty to attain private property so that they can provide for their families and be happy. Every man, by nature, has the right to possess his own property. We are not a bunch of wild animals roaming the country with no place to call our own. We earn the land we live on. Aforementioned in the paragraph about wealth being distributed to those who work for it, the same goes for land. Private ownership is in accordance with natural law, which capitalism provides.

Capitalism gives economic power to the citizens. This transfer of economic power lead to the transfer political power from the hands of the wealthy minority into the hands of the people. It is because of capitalism that Americans have the power to vote for their government leaders. Capitalism makes sure that the will of the majority always prevails in the economy. The model for the government was modeled after capitalism. The majority has the say in what they want to see in their government, whether it be their leaders or new laws. Not one person has complete power, which makes the citizens freer as a whole. Capitalism also serves the minorities. The food industry does not only produce meat and dairy, there are options for vegans and those who have allergies. Capitalism serves the masses because the citizens are in charge of businesses and consumers have a variety of options when choosing anything from food to clothing.

People who do not have the ability to choose cease to be people anymore. They are mere pawns of the totalitarian government. When a government such as a socialist government is in control, freedom ceases to exist. There is no choice. In a capitalist government, the people have the ability to choose. The freedoms provided by capitalism are endless. The power to choose is one of the fundamental human rights. God gave us free will for a reason: without it we would just be mindless, powerless drones subject to his will. Just as God lets us choose, so should the government let us choose. The power of choice gives us freedom, which is why capitalism makes us freer.

In summary, capitalism makes us freer because capitalism gives the people the power. The people have the power to choose who they buy from and who they want to lead their country. Without government intervention in business, people have the freedom to think for themselves and also start their own business if they want.  Because capitalism gives wealth to those that work for it, there is more incentive to exert one’s talents in their desired industry. Freedom is defined as, “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint,” and capitalism makes us freer because we can act without hindrance from the government. [6]

[1] Ludwig von Mises. “Liberty and Property.” In How to Find Happiness without a Free Lunch. ed. Bernardo Aparicio. Accessed 2015.

[2] von Mises

[3]  Aristotle. “The Nicomachean Ethics.” In How to Find Happiness without a Free Lunch. ed. Bernardo Aparicio. Accessed 2015

[4] Aristotle

[5] von Mises

[6] “Freedom.” Merriam Webster Dictionary. Accessed December 5, 2015.

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