Capitalists get a bad rap these days, and it’s a small wonder. The bad reputation of capitalists isn’t without some merit, however. Capitalists aren’t necessarily concerned with a worker’s family or their hopes and dreams. Instead, they’re worried about their company making a profit. It sounds cold, and to an extent it is. But there’s something else that needs to be remembered: Capitalists are what made this nation what it is today.
The United States thrived because of our industry and our railroad system. These weren’t government programs, but private initiatives that were privately funded. They weren’t developed out of some altruistic principle, but because someone thought they could make some money doing it. As a result of that, with the lucky stroke that every natural resource we needed was already here, we could grow at an incredible pace.
When the two world wars broke out, it was that system in place that enabled us to turn back the tides of tyranny from our allies in Europe. Partially in World War I, but more so in World War II, our industrial capability may well have been more of a deciding factor than even the brave men who fought. That’s nothing against those men, who are now labeled “The Greatest Generation” for a reason, but a reflection on how important our manufacturing capacity was. The Sherman tank was no match for a Tiger in a one on one fight … but we had a whole lot more Shermans than they had Tigers.
In the 1980s, a brilliant man named Steve Wosniak invented a really cool gizmo. He showed it to a buddy, also named Steve, and they started a revolution. That other “Steve” was Steve Jobs. The revolution was the personal computer. Make no mistake, folks, Jobs wasn’t motivated by the convenience of what all a computer could do. He was motivated by that evil “p” word: profit.
Profit, despite it’s bad rap, isn’t evil and neither is capitalism. The idea of government regulations protecting corporations is called corporatism and I despise it as much as many despise what they believe is capitalism. Bailouts aren’t capitalistic but corporatistic. True capitalism is equal and fair, but brutal. It doesn’t care if you’re male or female. It doesn’t care if you’re black or white. It doesn’t care about any of that. It cares about the market. The market decides what it wants. If the world hadn’t wanted personal computers, Apple Computers wouldn’t be a household name.
Capitalism has a bad reputation, but most people don’t even realize that not only is it not what we currently have in this country (we have more corporatism than anything), but it’s not even the evil that people think. We, as a nation, would still be floundering through the world as a North American backwater without it. However, it was natural here. In a capitalistic country, anyone can make it. Anyone can create a new product and soar to the top through hard work and ingenuity. Capitalism lets that happen. I only hope we can get back to that in my lifetime.
Written by Tom Knighton. Read his blog at TomKnighton.com, as well as SWGAPolitics.com. A lifelong political junkie, Tom started out his adult life as a journalism major at Darton College before leaving school to serve his nation as a U.S. Navy Corpsman. Through the years, he has watched government from outside and inside. A former Reagan supporter, then later a Democrat, Tom now finds himself quite comfortable as a card carrying Libertarian and currently serves as Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia.