Friday, April 23, 2010

John Stossel on Myths About Capitalism

If you didn't catch John Stossel last night, there's still time.  Fox Business channel reruns each feature about 4 times.
Last night was about American myths.  Here's Michael Medved on myth #4:

Myth No. 4: The current downturn means the death of capitalism.

"Capitalism is alive and well," Medved said.
"I'm also bugged when people argue that today's problems prove that capitalism "failed." What failed? We had a correction. A bubble popped. But from 1982 to now, the Dow rose from 800 to 11,000. Had it happened without the bubble, we'd say this is one of the great boom periods.
Medved added: "This is one of the biggest lies — the idea that because of capitalism, we're all suffering. ... Poor people in America today, people who are officially in poverty, have a higher standard of living in terms of medical standards, in terms of the chances of going to college, in terms of the way people live, than middle-class people did 30 years ago. It's an extraordinary achievement of technology and of the profit sector."

On a related note, here are some stats from The Austrian Economists site:

Households with:
Poor 1984Poor  1994Poor
All 1971All 2005
Washing machine58.271.767.068.771.384.0
Clothes dryer35.650.258.561.244.581.2
Color TV70.392.596.897.443.398.9
Personal computer2.97.436.
Air conditioner42.549.677.778.831.885.7
Cellular Telephone

One or more cars     64.171.872.8 (2001)

Ah, the failures of free market capitalism....
Remember to watch John Stossel.

1 comment:

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Those are some interesting figures... My only gripe is that, on the surface, it appears that our poor have a higher standard of living than that of the highest socioeconomic level of 'less economically free' countries.

However, digging deeper, I'd be curious what the effect of something like "Moore's Law" (computer storage costs decrease and size increase as physical size decreases by predictable amounts). That is, improvement in technology decreases costs. Obviously, the freer the markets, the faster the technological advances.

Also, I think if we took a deeper look, there may be signifantly easier credit in 2009 than in 1971. So, "no-income verification, no-credit? No-problem!, Bad Credit? Great Financing!" that didn't exist in 1971, now are available, trapping poor into a life of debt. Again, with all the default insurance policies brought to you, free of charge, by government agencies and institutional bail out vehicles.