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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13429/the-history-of-capitalism/

The History of Capitalism

July 30, 2010 by

The history of capitalism as it has operated in the last two hundred years in the realm of Western civilization is the record of a steady rise in the wage earners’ standard of living. FULL ARTICLE by Ludwig von Mises

{ 7 comments }

Allen Weingarten July 30, 2010 at 9:05 am

Mises writes that “Social security does not enjoin upon the employers the obligation to expend more in buying labor. It imposes upon the wage earners a restriction concerning the spending of their total income. It curtails the worker’s freedom to arrange his household according to his own decisions.” Yet he concludes that “Whether such a system of social security is a good or a bad policy is essentially a political problem.”

I do not think that our judgment of policy is a matter of politics (which measures human preference) but is rather an objective issue of fairness and productivity. This is accomplished by rewarding in proportion to contribution, where each component of production is paid in accord with supply & demand.

Consider that, as Mises notes, “the masses of wage earners…frequently did all they could to sabotage the adoption of those innovations that render their life more agreeable.” So from a political point of view, one might judge anti-capitalism to be a good policy. But wouldn’t we agree that because it would be immoral and unproductive, that anti-capitalism was and is a poor policy?

Dave Albin July 30, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I think he was just pointing out the problem inherent in all politics and policy – whether it’s “good” or “bad” is up to a bunch of people, some lazy morons, via the vote, who don’t mind stealing other people’s money.

billwald July 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm

200 years out of 4000 years of human history? I think we are regressing to the historical norm of 80% slaves and serfs.

Old Mexican July 31, 2010 at 1:59 am

Under socialism, yes.

gene August 1, 2010 at 10:45 am

It is really a long shot to analyse what is right in front of us, the modern world, and compare it to eons of history that we know nothing about and come to the conclusion that because we have indoor plumbing and material goods that we are living better than humans ever had. Especially in light of the extreme poverty [and lack of plumbing] that continues to exist in large portions of the world right in the presence of “Capitalism”.

Mises is also forgetting that it is “people” who create wealth, not some theoretical system. One could just as easily argue that it is “oil” that made us so better off, if indeed we are. And, in a few decades, this may indeed become the real story, depending on how we react to oil’s demise.

Kathryn October 1, 2010 at 6:49 am

Also many younger generations won’t be able to use Social Security as a benefit when they retire. I know that is true because I won’t be able to and someone else I know won’t be able too. But the people that are much much older than us will be able to collect benefits. It’s wrong that the younger generation won’t be able to use them.

Plumbers in Dunellen NJ

Plumbers in Rockford March 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Whether such a system of social security is a good or a bad policy is essentially a political problem- and one that will be a never ending issue I imagine.

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