I had little exposure to the academic discipline of economics before college, and I suspect that is case with most individuals today, given the opinions and ideas put forth by politicians and the public alike. Accordingly, here are seven quotes by experts that contain timeless economic truths as a reminder of who we are, and from whence we came:
1) “Capitalism is a system that begins not with taking but with giving to others.” George Gilder. The business person makes money by giving the consumer a product or service that they need or like; socialism begins by taking resources from the citizenry.
2) “Nothing contributes so much to the prosperity and happiness of a country as high profits.” David Ricardo. Prosperous businesses create a higher tax base, more research and development, better services, abundant charity, a better quality of life, and culminates in greater happiness for more people.
3) “Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.” Frederic Bastiat. Government has no money; the money they spend is by confiscation or debt. Who spends the money more efficiently, the people who earned it, or the people who took it?
4) “Differences in habits and attitudes are differences in human capital, just as much as differences in knowledge and skills – and such differences create differences in economic outcomes.” Thomas Sowell. No amount of income redistribution can create equality of outcomes; it only creates resentment. Equal opportunity should be the goal.
5) “If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization.” Ludwig Von Mises. The ownership of private property ensures dignity and freedom, not greed. Who is greedier, the one who earns money to buy, or the one who confiscates it?
6) “The free market system is not a system; it is not something that Washington implements. It does not exist in any legislation, law, bill, regulation, or book. It is what you get when people act on their own, entirely without central direction, and with their own property.” Jeffrey Tucker. Nobody invented capitalism. It is natural result of people’s desire to live in community and provide for their basic human needs.
7) “Under capitalism, man oppresses man, but under socialism, it is the other way around.” Russ Roberts. Humans make bad choices. No system of government or economics can change that.
These quotes were compiled by Prager University (www.prageru.com); the editorial comments are mine. Prager University is not an accredited university, but a not-for-profit information website with contributions by Democrats, Republicans, Independents and people from many religions and races. Their five minute videos can also be found on YouTube.
Bottom line: our society functions better when free people work for profit by serving the needs and wants of others. Additionally, society functions better when free people keep themselves informed. These principles created the greatest economic engine in human history; let’s not lose it due to our own ignorance.