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Let’s not forget the mighty merits of capitalism

Guest Columnist

Sunday November 27, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters are on a noisy, drum-beating mission to destroy capitalism in this country. They are spurred onward and motivated by extremely wealthy beneficiaries of capitalism like Susan Sarandon (an actress), Kanye West (a rapper) and Michael Moore (a filmmaker). When I see this march of hypocrisy on the television, I can’t help but wonder do these people know what capitalism really is?

Where are the defenders of capitalism? How can we defend it if we don’t know what it is? Is it worth defending? I contend that it is.

Let us deal with facts first:

* Capitalism has provided this country with the largest and most vibrant economy in the history of mankind.

* Capitalism provides the opportunity for money to flow toward the best investments, such as air conditioning, safe cars and life-saving drugs.

* Capitalism is the only system that allows an individual the freedom to own the product of one’s own labor, rather than have it confiscated and “spread” by the state.

* Capitalism allows for individual economic choices to determine which products and investments are the most important, rather than some faceless hoard of bureaucrats directing from the top.

* Capitalism is the fundamental and basic building block of our world-dominating economy. It helps define our way of life, provides for our wealth and adds to our culture. Capitalism is our economic engine. For the majority of people to not know what capitalism is, or how it works, or why it is good for society, seems like social injustice.

Many of the protesters are upset that they cannot find a job. Most of the exported American jobs, especially in manufacturing sectors, have gone overseas to places like China. The irony lies here: Since 1978, China has had an economic explosion (importing American jobs) because they made capitalistic reforms to their economy. They have become bigger and better capitalists. It’s working for them.

Today China has the largest working middle class in the world. So clearly the basic tenets of capitalism work. (I do not mean to suggest a pass on communist governance.) Only when capitalism is destroyed and infringed upon by the government does the system stop working and jobs become scarce.

It is important to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect society. There is no perfect economy that will eliminate all poverty and force people to do what is right. There is a perfect system though, and that system is capitalism. It is painfully clear that the protesters and many others do not know the basics of how capitalism works. If they did understand, they would be camped out and causing disruptions in Washington, D.C., not lower Manhattan and other business centers across the globe, not trying to interfere with Black Friday sales. The American public should be informed about the virtues capitalism promotes, the creature comforts it creates and the wealth that is possible.

We must arm ourselves with this knowledge in order to defend capitalism against the agitators who wish to destroy it and our very way of life.

Nathan Embry of Waco works at a local trust company.

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