Capitalism Doesn't Work, Mr. Gates?
Bill Gates, bloviating at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is issuing a clarion call for a "kinder capitalism" to aid the world's poor. Gates says he has grown impatient with the shortcomings of capitalism. He thinks it's failing much of the world. This, of course, from a guy who's worth around $35 billion (give or take a billion).
Don't you just love it?
A guy without a college degree who invented a new technology process in his garage that literally changed the entire world, a guy who took advantage of all the great opportunities that a free and capitalist society has to offer and got filthy rich in the process, is now trashing capitalism and telling us it doesn't work. What chutzpah.
For all his do-good preaching, Gates is ignoring the global spread of free-market capitalism that has successfully lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and into the middle class over the last decade. Think China. Think India. Think Eastern Europe. (Maybe even think France under Nicolas Sarkozy.) Gates wants business leaders to dedicate more time to fighting poverty. But the reality is that economic freedom is the best path to prosperity. Period.
Gates says he has witnessed steep income and cultural inequities in his travels around the world, in particular to Africa. But for this he should blame the absence of capitalist principles, not capitalism itself. Even the most compassionate corporate executives are not going to bring prosperity to impoverished countries with statist economies. Until Africa's nations undertake the market-oriented reforms that have boosted China and the other Asian Tigers -- like South Korea and Taiwan -- they will continue to rank at the bottom of the world prosperity scale.
The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal 2008 Index of Economic Freedom reveals how free-market economics is spreading like wildfire, while state-run socialism is on the decline. And it's no wonder why. The free-market countries are prospering mightily, while the least-free economies are mired in poverty. We're talking North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Iran. Also noteworthy is Venezuela. As the neo-socialist Hugo Chavez attempts to adopt Fidel Castro's failed economic model, he's sinking his nation toward Cuba-type poverty.
Economist Mark Perry, on his Carpe Diem blog site, reports that both the U.S. share of world GDP and its global stock market capitalization are shrinking. But this isn't a bad thing at all. It doesn't mean that America is heading downward. On the contrary, it means that newly freed economies are heading up.
The reality here is that the rising tide of global capitalism is lifting all boats that employ it. Capitalism works. It's a good thing. It's the key to unlocking a nation's prosperity. In fact, free-market capitalism is the greatest anti-poverty program ever devised by man. [...]
George Soros, also at the Davos forum, is predicting that the era of capitalism is coming to an end. I have no doubt that he would like that. I'm sure it's a major reason why he funds so many left wing groups and practically owns the Democrat party. I'm sick of these exceedingly wealthy people who decide that once they've got theirs, capitalism has to be limited, so they can use their wealth to Lord it over the rest of us.
The entire article is worth reading, as it talks about what capitalism has done in China and India and many other places... and why it ought to be encouraged, not diminished.