Thursday, December 20, 2007

At Christmas, thank the producers

Christmas is a time to thank the producers, those who make the stuff we can't do without.  As we end a year in which the favourite words are sustainable, environmental, and anything beginning with "eco," Lew Rockwell reckons we should celebrate entrepreneurs -- "those who make speculative judgments in a capitalistic economy, risking their own resources to bring us goods, services, and techniques that we have never known before."
It is the entrepreneur's intuition and imagination that make economic progress possible.
That's true.  As year on year and generation on generation our lives are blessed with the material benefits brought into the world by those especially imbued with the entrepreneurial spirit, it's worth it just occasionally to pause and say thank you, and to wonder why and who would want to put a stop to their life-enhancing efforts. As Rockwell notes:
Unfortunately, some would. They oppose the free-market process that makes improvement possible. They seize on some innovation that they don't like, and instead of declining to buy, seek to deny that opportunity to others by passing laws against free exchange and economic progress.
Such people seem to be everywhere these days. The environmentalist movement is replete with them; indeed, the ideology pretty much defines the ideological Left. They preach that we buy too much, sell too much, and compete too much, while calling on the government to stop us.
This hectoring must carry some persuasive power, given how many people have been taken in by it. The mistake is in thinking that economic progress is driven by some strange force outside our control. In fact, material progress represents the social ratification of the ideas and actions of dreamers in a capitalistic marketplace, people seeking to bring us better ways of living, and using peaceful means to do so.
...People have been led to believe that shutting down entrepreneurship and the marketplace will improve the world. Actually, that way lies barbarism, and a system unfit for human beings.

A good and timely message. When Brad Thompson of Clemson University declares that "capitalism works because it's moral and just," this is what he means: the freedom of capitalism represents leaves free all dreamers free to dream, free to rise, and able to take us with them.

What a great thought to contemplate at Christmas.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

An excellent post.

12/20/2007 11:21:00 am  
Anonymous Lance (SOLO) said...

Even more predictable than the post-Thanksgiving appearance of shopping-mall Santas is the inability of pundits at this time of year to say or to write "commercialism" without prefixing to it the word "crass" - as we encounter in your pages today in Tom Krattenmaker's "The real meaning of Christmas."

I challenge this notion. Commerce is peaceful. It involves sellers working hard and taking risks to bring to market goods and services that consumers want to buy. No one forces anyone to do anything; all is voluntary.

What truly is crass is politics - that sorry spectacle of power-seeking ego-maniacs who, when not pronouncing platitudes, are promising to help group A by picking the pockets of group B. While commerce is honest, politics is duplicitous. While commerce is peaceful, politics inevitably pits citizen against citizen. Far more enlightened and ethical behavior is on display during any one day in a shopping mall than the most intrepid observer will find in a century on Pennsylvania Avenue.


- A letter from Donald J. Boudreaux to USA Today.

Lifted from Samizdata.net

12/21/2007 10:42:00 am  

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