Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Five Examples of Capitalism Improving Society

In browsing through a recent edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists I came across a challenge to name five examples of capitalism improving society. Someone has answer, he's got them displayed in a nice chart with bullet points, and I can't recreate it here, so you should immediately go read it there. But I can't resist posting the text of the first one:

Open societies are best for protecting the environment. While this argument is sure to generate howls of protest from activist groups, the evidence is clear:

Environmentalist movements are only free to operate and lobby for public favor in open socieities. There were no "green" movements in the Soviet Union, nor was the Audubon Society a movement under the Taliban.

Open societies have the resources with which to effectively fix the ecological problems that are natural consequences of satisfying human demands. The former Eastern Bloc nations continue to suffer the worst environmental conditions in Europe precisely because their old command economies could not efficiently deliver the same goods and services as freer markets in the West while simultaneously cleaning up after themselves.

Market societies reward the innovations that allow environmental protection to take place. Under capitalist systems, no matter how derided, a market exists that rewards innovations like double-hulled oil tankers and gas flume scrubbers and reverse-osmosis filtration of drinking water. Other systems simply don't have the incentive structures in place that lead to those sorts of developments.

Go read the rest. Maybe I'll tackle some of these in detail in the near future.... if anyone has any doubts to their merits.


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