American Elephants

The Miracle of Free Markets and Free People by The Elephant's Child

What are the new inventions and innovations of your lifetime? The things that you take for granted now that were inventions and innovations of their day? What were the innovations of your parents and grandparents lives?

We have cell phones that are small personal computers, drones smaller than hummingbirds, giant wall size TV screens that are on the way to putting the movie theaters that were the innovation of an earlier day out of business.

In an earlier day, few people settled far from where they were born. Children grew up to do what their fathers did. Innovation and invention were rare. And then came the Industrial Revolution, and the discovery of the energy to drive it, Communication and transportation. How is it possible to look at the history of Socialism wherever it has been tried and not grasp the inevitable failings of central planning?

Michael Cox, former Chief Economist at the Dallas Federal Reserve and a professor at Southern Methodist University points out the loss of economic freedom throughout the world.


3 Comments so far
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The free markets are a great tool for society. The problem I have with most libertarians and conservatives is the same problem I have with liberals. They worship their ideologies. When you worship a messiah you get messianic behavior.

How did we get the core technologies that gave us all of this? It was not private enterprise. That is not there job. The job of free markets is the short term.


Comment by Mark Baird

Wrong, wrong and wrong. The Free Market, Mark, is not a tool, an ideology, or a partisan political ploy. The Free Market is simply the normal actions of millions and millions of free people, buying, trading, exchanging, buying, selling, inventing, innovating. Innovation and invention come from individual human minds who see a way to improve, make something work, fix something. Often the most important inventions are built on someone else’s work. The steam engine developed by James Watt and patented in 1769 was based on Thomas Newcomen’s first practical steam engine, but it was Watt’s improvements that made it made it 4 times as efficient. And that’s the way most innovation proceeds. Invention is not usually the lightbulb over the head thing, but an advancement inspired by something else. Governments do not innovate nor invent. They give out way too many grants, a few of which lead to something. “Capitalism” was simply the name Karl Marx gave to the workings of the free market, and the left has been demonizing it forever — for it wrecks their idea that they and their friends are “experts” who know how to run everything and fix everything. They are not, and they don’t. Please read John Steele Gordon’s An Empire of Wealth. It’s an exciting history of American economic power and how it all came about. Great read.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

You tell ’em, Child!

Just as a practical note there, Mark… when you decide to frame your commentary in a manner like “they worship their ideologies” (and it doesn’t really innoculate you to include liberals with conservatives and libertarians in this case), some things to keep in mind:

1) make sure you’re not being obvious in your own ideological leanings (in other words, your anti-free-market bias is showing)
2) it would certainly help for you to be correct in your conclusions.

EC is right… the free market is not a tool. It is simply a way of conducting the affairs of men (the best one, as far as I’m concerned, but that’s in line with my ideology). And to answer your question,”How did we get the core technologies that gave us all of this?”, yes, it was private enterprise. And public contribution. And communities working together. But at the very beginning of any idea is an individual who questioned what was, wanted to know how could be done differently, and acted on it. Sometimes they fail (New Coke, anyone?). And don’t try to present us with the idea that public contribution (what you call government support) is somehow better than private investment (How are your shares in Solyndra doing? Fisker? A123 Systems?).


Comment by Lon Mead

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