The Free Market Works

Did you know that since 1970, the percentage of humanity living in extreme poverty has fallen 80 percent? How did that happen? Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, explains.

This post is connected with another that is similar in it’s point.

Here, Thomas Sowell writes about the pernicious lie that comes from the Left by speaking about a great book by Arthur C. Brooks from AEI. What prompted me to post this is the indoctrination of our youth in this Facebook post that is horribly wrong in many respects:

“But seriously, to claim that we live in a post racial era is the epitome of absurdity. Although i’m all about forging unity we can’t do so while ignoring the reality of racial injustice, white supremacy, and national oppression in this country. Malcolm X perhaps said it best when he said you can’t have capitalism without racism. The capitalist system thrives off of racism and the division it creates amongst the masses of people. To fight tooth and nail against this order exploitation requires a relentless struggle against racism,white privilege, and all forms of bigotry.”

BONO on the free markets:

Here is Thomas Sowell’s review of Arthur Brooks book… there is the pencil example by Nobel winning economist Milton Freidman as well as an Artur C. Brooks presentation at the end. Econ class 150 is in session:

More frightening than any particular beliefs or policies is an utter lack of any sense of a need to test those beliefs and policies against hard evidence. Mistakes can be corrected by those who pay attention to facts but dogmatism will not be corrected by those who are wedded to a vision.

One of the most pervasive political visions of our time is the vision of liberals as compassionate and conservatives as less caring.

[….]

A new book, titled Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks examines the actual behavior of liberals and conservatives when it comes to donating their own time, money, or blood for the benefit of others. It is remarkable that beliefs on this subject should have become conventional, if not set in concrete, for decades before anyone bothered to check these beliefs against facts.

What are those facts?

People who identify themselves as conservatives donate money to charity more often than people who identify themselves as liberals. They donate more money and a higher percentage of their incomes.

It is not that conservatives have more money. Liberal families average 6 percent higher incomes than conservative families.

You may recall a flap during the 2000 election campaign when the fact came out that Al Gore donated a smaller percentage of his income to charity than the national average. That was perfectly consistent with his liberalism.

So is the fact that most of the states that voted for John Kerry during the 2004 election donated a lower percentage of their incomes to charity than the states that voted for George W. Bush.

Conservatives not only donate more money to charity than liberals do, conservatives volunteer more time as well. More conservatives than liberals also donate blood.

According to Professor Brooks: “If liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply of the United States would jump about 45 percent.”

Professor Brooks admits that the facts he uncovered were the opposite of what he expected to find — so much so that he went back and checked these facts again, to make sure there was no mistake.

What is the reason why some people are liberals and others are conservatives, if it is not that liberals are more compassionate?

Fundamental differences in ideology go back to fundamental assumptions about human nature. Based on one set of assumptions, it makes perfect sense to be a liberal. Based on a different set of assumptions, it makes perfect sense to be a conservative.

The two visions are not completely symmetrical, however. For at least two centuries, the vision of the left has included a belief that those with that vision are morally superior, more caring and more compassionate.

[….]

The two visions are different in another way. The vision of the left exalts the young especially as idealists while the more conservative vision warns against the narrowness and shallowness of the inexperienced. This study found young liberals to make the least charitable contributions of all, whether in money, time or blood. Idealism in words is not idealism in deeds.

Here is Brooks short presentation


Some Later Additions:


Conservatism Doesn’t Need a Qualifier Like, “Compassionate”

Dennis Prager asks Arthur Brooks a question regarding “‘Compassionate’ Conservatism.” Arthur Brooks responds that we do not need a qualifier to explain something so obvious.

Dennis talks Arthur Brooks, professor of public administration at Syracuse University, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism. (Originally broadcast December 28, 2006) One should see my main page for economic issues for more on these matters:

Capitalism, The Moral Choice (PragerU and More)

This post is connected with another that is similar in it’s point.

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” ~ C.S. Lewis

A portion by Arthur Brooks via The Wall Street Journal:

…Conservatives are fighting a losing battle of moral arithmetic. They hand an argument with virtually 100% public support—care for the vulnerable—to progressives, and focus instead on materialistic concerns and minority moral viewpoints.

The irony is maddening. America’s poor people have been saddled with generations of disastrous progressive policy results, from welfare-induced dependency to failing schools that continue to trap millions of children.

Meanwhile, the record of free enterprise in improving the lives of the poor both here and abroad is spectacular. According to Columbia University economist Xavier Sala-i-Martin, the percentage of people in the world living on a dollar a day or less—a traditional poverty measure—has fallen by 80% since 1970. This is the greatest antipoverty achievement in world history. That achievement is not the result of philanthropy or foreign aid. It occurred because billions of souls have been able to pull themselves out of poverty thanks to global free trade, property rights, the rule of law and entrepreneurship.

The left talks a big game about helping the bottom half, but its policies are gradually ruining the economy, which will have catastrophic results once the safety net is no longer affordable. Labyrinthine regulations, punitive taxation and wage distortions destroy the ability to create private-sector jobs. Opportunities for Americans on the bottom to better their station in life are being erased.

Some say the solution for conservatives is either to redouble the attacks on big government per se, or give up and try to build a better welfare state. Neither path is correct. Raging against government debt and tax rates that most Americans don’t pay gets conservatives nowhere, and it will always be an exercise in futility to compete with liberals on government spending and transfers.

Instead, the answer is to make improving the lives of vulnerable people the primary focus of authentically conservative policies. For example, the core problem with out-of-control entitlements is not that they are costly—it is that the impending insolvency of Social Security and Medicare imperils the social safety net for the neediest citizens. Education innovation and school choice are not needed to fight rapacious unions and bureaucrats—too often the most prominent focus of conservative education concerns—but because poor children and their parents deserve better schools.

Defending a healthy culture of family, community and work does not mean imposing an alien “bourgeois” morality on others. It is to recognize what people need to be happy and successful—and what is most missing today in the lives of too many poor people.

…read more…

A couple recommended resources:

  1. Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem, by Jay Richards;
  2. The Virtues of Capitalism: A Moral Case for Free Markets, by Scott Rae and Austin Hill;
  3. Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compasionate Conservatism: America’s Charity Divide ~ Who Gives, Who Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, by Arthur Brooks;
  4. The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution, by Barry Asmus and Wayne Grudem;
  5. Think Christianly: Looking at the Intersection of Faith and Culture, by Jonathan Morrow;
  6. God vs. Socialism, by Joel McDurmon;
  7. Rendering Unto Caesar: Was Jesus A Socialist? (PDF) by Lawrence W. Reed (Audio Book [free])

Listen to an insightful presentation by Jay Richards at the family Research Council (starts at the 20-second mark): “God, Capitalism, and You.” I also uploaded an interview of Wayne Grudem by Dennis Prager about his book, The Poverty of Nations.

Economics is a moral issue. It is critical for Christians to understand that when it comes to economics, good intentions don’t necessarily translate into good outcomes. This means that it is actually possible to do harm to people while intending good if we adopt bad economic policy. See more here.

Why Capitalism Works ~ PragerU (w/Sowell, Freidman & Brooks)

This post is connected with another that is similar in it’s point.

Here, Thomas Sowell writes about the pernicious lie that comes from the Left by speaking about a great book by Arthur C. Brooks from AEI. What prompted me to post this is the indoctrination of our youth in this Facebook post that is horribly wrong in many respects:

Dollar Money Sign

“But seriously, to claim that we live in a post racial era is the epitome of absurdity. Although i’m all about forging unity we can’t do so while ignoring the reality of racial injustice, white supremacy, and national oppression in this country. Malcolm X perhaps said it best when he said you can’t have capitalism without racism. The capitalist system thrives off of racism and the division it creates amongst the masses of people. To fight tooth and nail against this order exploitation requires a relentless struggle against racism,white privilege, and all forms of bigotry.”

BONO on the free markets:

Here is Thomas Sowell’s review of Arthur Brooks book… there is the pencil example by Nobel winning economist Milton Freidman as well as an Artur C. Brooks presentation at the end. Econ class 150 is in session:

More frightening than any particular beliefs or policies is an utter lack of any sense of a need to test those beliefs and policies against hard evidence. Mistakes can be corrected by those who pay attention to facts but dogmatism will not be corrected by those who are wedded to a vision.

One of the most pervasive political visions of our time is the vision of liberals as compassionate and conservatives as less caring.

[….]

A new book, titled Who Really Cares by Arthur C. Brooks examines the actual behavior of liberals and conservatives when it comes to donating their own time, money, or blood for the benefit of others. It is remarkable that beliefs on this subject should have become conventional, if not set in concrete, for decades before anyone bothered to check these beliefs against facts.

What are those facts?

People who identify themselves as conservatives donate money to charity more often than people who identify themselves as liberals. They donate more money and a higher percentage of their incomes.

It is not that conservatives have more money. Liberal families average 6 percent higher incomes than conservative families.

You may recall a flap during the 2000 election campaign when the fact came out that Al Gore donated a smaller percentage of his income to charity than the national average. That was perfectly consistent with his liberalism.

So is the fact that most of the states that voted for John Kerry during the 2004 election donated a lower percentage of their incomes to charity than the states that voted for George W. Bush.

Conservatives not only donate more money to charity than liberals do, conservatives volunteer more time as well. More conservatives than liberals also donate blood.

According to Professor Brooks: “If liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply of the United States would jump about 45 percent.”

Professor Brooks admits that the facts he uncovered were the opposite of what he expected to find — so much so that he went back and checked these facts again, to make sure there was no mistake.

What is the reason why some people are liberals and others are conservatives, if it is not that liberals are more compassionate?

Fundamental differences in ideology go back to fundamental assumptions about human nature. Based on one set of assumptions, it makes perfect sense to be a liberal. Based on a different set of assumptions, it makes perfect sense to be a conservative.

The two visions are not completely symmetrical, however. For at least two centuries, the vision of the left has included a belief that those with that vision are morally superior, more caring and more compassionate.

[….]

The two visions are different in another way. The vision of the left exalts the young especially as idealists while the more conservative vision warns against the narrowness and shallowness of the inexperienced. This study found young liberals to make the least charitable contributions of all, whether in money, time or blood. Idealism in words is not idealism in deeds.

Here is Brooks short presentation


Some Later Additions:


Why Free Enterprise Is About Morals, Not Materialism

This first video is a presentation by Arthur Brooks, author of books such as,

This is a moral argument, not a materialist one:

This is a special Serious Saturday, and I will post the videos I liked from AEI’s gallery from their contest. These are very short, maybe 2 minutes long at the most, and they must explain one of the following three ideas:

  • Free enterprise promotes earned success, which is the substance of lasting happiness.
  • Free enterprise promotes real fairness, based on merit and hard work.
  • Free enterprise does the most good for the most vulnerable by supplying both ample charity and unmatched opportunity.

Enjoy


Left v. Right


For the serious minded, here is a long debate between Arthur C. Brooks and Jim Wallace at Wheaton College:

  • On October 28, 2010, AEI president Arthur Brooks joined Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis for a conversation about the morality of free enterprise. The event was moderated by Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson and held on the campus of Wheaton College (IL) in front of an audience of 1200 students, faculty, and community members.