Capitalism is...

by Sam Selikoff March 13, 2011


Life enhancing. During Spring Break this week, I video chatted with my friends and family, received a personalized tour of the Museum of Natural History using the museum’s free app, and catalogued my trip to New York City with photos and videos (automatically tagged with location and people) and shared them with everyone on Dropbox – all on my iPhone. I can’t imagine how I would stay in touch with as many people I do if it weren’t for the amazingly innovate products that capitalists have developed over the past ten years.

Environmentally friendly. A physicist from my church developed a more efficient way to produce soda cans that uses 25% less aluminum – and made money for doing it!. The profit incentive is the first and best solution to the ever-present reality of resource scarcity. A rarely-mentioned fact is that the supply of nearly all natural resources today is more abundant than it was before the industrial revolution. The skeptic of my statements would do well to look at recent history, and judge for himself the plausibility of the alleged environmental disasters that we all currently face.

Innovative. The internet is increasingly making the government-enforced domain of ‘intellectual property’ irrelevant, depriving holders of copyrights and patents of their once-protected streams of monopoly income. Some producers have retaliated by seeking stronger measures to limit users’ ability to download music and movies, but Pandora.com chose to develop a completely new way to make money from music. It streams music for free to the end user, raises money from advertising, and also provides, for an annual fee, a desktop app which uses its ‘music genome’ algorithm to play custom playlists for the user. This is a great example of how capitalists are always developing cheaper and higher-quality ways to serve their customers.

All of this happens because under capitalism, complete strangers have an economic incentive to cooperate with each other, and are free to do so. It is truly amazing to reflect on the millions of exchanges that take place in our everyday lives, and that allow us to enjoy a lifestyle only dreamed of by generations past.

So here’s one to the entrepreneurs – the true public servants.

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