Certain American politics of the right persuasion love to criticize socialism and call for protecting capitalism, and too many left wing politicians are building their careers on critiquing capitalism, but the truth is America has for the past 150 years strayed so far away from the original form of capitalism that the country was founded upon, the godfathers of American capitalism wouldn’t even consider it capitalist at all.
American economic might came from it’s rapid buildup into a world power in the 1800s. Other countries were shocked at the speed and veracity in which the United States went to dominate the globe. France sent a diplomat to investigate it for a few months, and he ended up spending years here and went on to write one of the most famous books in US history on it: Democracy In America.
The US became this economic powerhouse due to a number of reasons. Democracy, vast resources, a patriotic populace. But as noted in Democracy In America, and espoused by our founding fathers, the main reason is none other than free market capitalism.
Two of the biggest actions by the government to stray away from folowing free markets, was the beginning of regulating wall street in 1911, which turned it from a gambler’s game to a legitimized government backed entity that has had effects we see even to this day, and the ratification of the constitution to allow income tax, passed in 1913.
Since then, prohibitions, wars on poverty, public education systems, wars on drugs. International wars, more taxes to pay for those wars, meddling in higher education, and involvement in healthcare have convoluted the markets so much, it’s caused a multitude of economic crises we see today.
The economists to follow
The country is facing a myriad of wealth and inequality issues, yet the people it effects seem to have no concern for studying economic theory or policy. As a result, republicans and democrats alike continue to be elected that follow economic ideas that are proven failures, or stray from the original economic philosophies that made America great in the first place.
The most important economist in American history no doubt, is Adam Smith. Though the never actually set foot in America, his teachings shaped the principles that the founding fathers based the country on. Free markets, non government roles in the market, the invisible hand theory, and modern capitalism.
Born in Scotland in 1723, Smith showed intelligence that surpassed his pupils. At just 14, he entered the University of Glasgow where he studied moral philosophy.
He went on to be a famous professor, and then quit teaching to travel Europe studying how different government’s economic policies had different effects on it’s people. In Paris he met Benjamin Franklin, who was also becoming more and more of a believer in free markets himself. It was at this time that the french phrase on economics “Let do and let pass, the world goes on by itself”came to be.
Though the United States strayed from his teachings in the latter part of the 20th century, Wealth Of Nations was instrumental in the establishment of the USA as we know it.
Ludwig Von Mises
Ludwig Von Mises is considered one of the greatest economists of the past two centuries. He was born in Austria in 1881 to jewish parents in what was then part of Austria-Hungary but now Ukraine. Highly intelligent, at age 12 he was fluent in German, French, Polish, spoke some Latin, and understand Ukrainian. His treatise on economics would go on to be one of the most influential books on free market capitalism in modern history.
Other notable economists which Americans should study are Milton Friedman, Thomas Woods, Ayn Rand (just as one does not have to agree with the whole bible to be a christian, or an artist to like their music, there are lessons in Ayn Rand’s books that make her personal opinions irrelevant and that are why she is as famous as she is today).
Study these works, for America’s future depends on it.