Sunday, July 12, 2015

The music at the heart of Capitalism

A profile of the head of the American Enterprise Institute that speaks a little to the culture wars being waged (and for some, it's a war that's being lost by economic conservatives):

While the mission remains unchanged, Mr. Brooks believes his obligation goes far beyond the production of academic tomes. These have their place, but if the champions of free markets hope to sell the message to those who aren’t already sold, he says they need to speak to the heart as much as to the head.

It’s what he means by “the music.” It begins by emphasizing that those who benefit most from freer markets are the have-nots: those without inherited wealth, prestigious credentials, social or class advantages—in other words, people whose only hope for a better life is a social order that will reward their hard work and enterprise.

Certainly that has been borne out by the world’s experience. In 1938 it might not have been clear that capitalism was the key to human flourishing. But no longer.

When he was a child, Mr. Brooks notes, one of four people lived on less than a dollar a day. Today, though we still have far to go, the advance of trade and a globalized economy has shrunk that figure to one of 20.

The liberation of hundreds of millions from desperate poverty ranks among the greatest success stories in history. But it’s a story that remains largely untold and mostly unheralded. In his new book, “The Conservative Heart,” Mr. Brooks puts it this way: “Capitalism has saved a couple of billion people and we have treated this miracle like a state secret.”
More here (Cato):

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