This Man Was Almost Elected President of the United States!

Al Gore, who came within a few hundred votes of being elected president in 2000, has designed a blueprint to overhaul capitalism to create a sustainable capitalism that will support lasting economic growth.  He says that the way capitalism is now practiced does not “…incorporate sufficient regard for its impact on people, society and the planet.”

Up until the Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s most people lived at a subsistence level of income, and starvation was a constant threat.  Only since that time, thanks to capitalism, has the world ever seen “lasting economic growth.”  Most of human history has been the search for sufficient calories to survive, and people who lived prior to the twentieth century would have been astounded to witness people today who actually have too much food, and are trying to lose weight.

Fifty years ago nobody had cellular telephones, microwave ovens, or personal computers.  Air conditioned homes and automobiles were a rarity, and color television was new and equally rare.  Today we take all these things for granted, as we have hundreds of available television channels, even more content on the internet, as we drive around in our air conditioned automobiles and travel anywhere in the world in a matter of hours in jet aircraft.

All this happened in a few hundred years, thanks to capitalism.  All these things are “the impact of capitalism on people, society, and the planet.”  Life has never been better, easier, or more secure for most people, and the people who today have it the hardest are the people who don’t live in capitalist economies.

Capitalism continues to give people higher incomes, and more significantly, more of the things they want.  Goods like phones and televisions produced as recently as a decade ago don’t measure up to what is available now.  Twenty-first century capitalism is more productive than capitalism ever has been.

Mr. Gore is especially critical of the financial system, and the fact that investors rapidly turn over their portfolios.  This liquidity is one reason why capitalism works so well.  Entrepreneurs can raise money in financial markets, and one reason people buy securities is because they are very liquid, so people aren’t locked in long-term as Mr. Gore would prefer.

This man appears to have no understanding about the aspects of our economy that have made us productive and wealthy.

Randall G. Holcombe is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University. His Independent books include Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis (edited with Benjamin Powell); and Writing Off Ideas: Taxation, Foundations, and Philanthropy in America .
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