*A Book Review*
The Capitalist Manifesto
By Andrew Bernstein
by Michael C. Gray
March 29, 2007
In the past, many politicians from other countries have used "capitalist" as a denigrating term. Most Americans are not informed enough about our economic system to puff up their chests and say, "you're darn right!"
The Capitalist Manifesto was written as a companion to an earlier book, Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal, by Ayn Rand. When Ayn Rand wrote her books, it seemed the world was following the "liberal" path of altruism, and their were few defenders of the virtues of freedom and rational self-interest. Now, with a few exceptions, the former communist states are embracing (more) free market economies.
I was most impressed by the historical context of the emergence of capitalism explained in The Capitalist Manifesto. It is amazing to contemplate the dramatic improvement of the condition of humanity since the emergence of capitalism in Britain and the United States. Under previous systems, the masses were destitute. Sanitation was abysmal. Child mortality was high.
The adoption of capitalism ignited the industrial revolution, which created a huge number of jobs and a flood of immigration to the capitalist countries, especially the United States. Capitalism inspired and still inspires the technological innovation that has made life better for all of us.
In addition to the historic story of the rise of capitalism, Bernstein gives the economic and philosophic explanations favoring capitalism. Capitalism is closely related to the Age of Reason and the American Revolution.
This is admittedly a one-sided book. There are some issues that capitalism doesn't solve. Laws are necessary to ensure public safety from defective products. (But consider EBay, where poor reader ratings can destroy the ability to sell on the system.) Also, we have become almost too successful, straining the environment of our Earth.
Will there be a successor economic system to capitalism, or is it the ideal that we haven't really allowed to grow to its potential? All we can say is no one seems to have developed a superior alternative.
I believe The Capitalist Manifesto should be required reading in our schools and for everyone who works in our government to understand capitalism's critical role in our society and in our world.
Purchase it on Amazon: The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire
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