“It’s a zero-sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses.”
“If you need a friend, get a dog.”
In 1987 Michael Douglas brought us these lines playing financier and corporate raider Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street. These heartless-sounding quotes and ones like them are about all that many Americans have ever heard about capitalism.
The natural takeaway is that capitalism—and capitalists—are forces opposing justice, fairness, humanity, and decency. If their understanding of capitalism is summarized by the Gekko character, it’s not surprising that so many have been attracted to the promises of socialism.
Capitalism has many imperfections to be sure. But could it be that capitalism is not only a good system, but that it is actually more humane than socialism?
Hoover Institution fellows Russell Roberts and Ayaan Hirsi Ali make this case in the new eBook, Personal Freedom and the Moral Case for Capitalism. Roberts takes on the question as an economist with a humble, practical approach, while Ali speaks of her own experience growing up in socialist Somalia and how political institutions and values shape economic systems.
This eBook consists of two papers—one from each scholar—written in conjunction with The Human Prosperity Project on Socialism and Free-Market Capitalism. This project provides objective and scholarly analyses of free-market capitalism, socialism, and hybrid systems and provides evidence on the effectiveness of the various systems on outcomes that affect prosperity and well-being.
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