History

A Billion Fewer in Poverty Since 1980

By Mike Kapic / January 23, 2019 / Comments Off on A Billion Fewer in Poverty Since 1980

The Great Enrichment by Mike Kapic January 19, 2019 As explained by Dan Mitchell, Deirdre McCloskey gives a simple explanation of why the world is richer today. Classical liberal ideas trump capitalism which trumps socialism and communism. This is why we should be educating the new Democrats on true liberalism and not buying what they’re…

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A Guide to Liberty

By Mike Kapic / December 6, 2018 / Comments Off on A Guide to Liberty

Cato’s Letters: A Guide for Maintaining the Principles of Liberty “Good governors do not consider their people their prey.” Gary M. Galles November 17, 2018 One of the most serious issues we face today is how citizens can hold those who win elections accountable, “to maintain and expose the glorious principles of liberty, and to…

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Washington’s Farewell Warning

By Mike Kapic / November 11, 2018 / Comments Off on Washington’s Farewell Warning

George Washington’s Warning on Disunity We can still learn a lot from Washington’s Farewell Address. Richard Lim September 20, 2018 Sept. 19 is the 222nd anniversary of the publication of President George Washington’s Farewell Address. Appearing in newspapers nationwide, it announced Washington’s intention to retire from public life after his second term. For most of…

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Robber Baron History

By Mike Kapic / November 7, 2018 / Comments Off on Robber Baron History

How the Myth of the ‘Robber Barons’ Began—and Why It Persists The widely-accepted “history” of America’s Gilded Age was grossly inaccurate, but it told a compelling story that many fell for hook, line, and sinker. Burton W. Folsom September 21, 2018 Capitalism Worked, but We Were Told It Didn’t We study history to learn from…

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Losing America

By Mike Kapic / November 4, 2018 / Comments Off on Losing America

It Doesn’t Matter If You Love The Constitution If Your Neighbors Don’t Know What It Says Our constitutional culture is falling apart. We should remedy it before it’s too late. By Akhil Rajasekar OCTOBER 25, 2018 The Constitution of the United States was created with a simple purpose: to limit government. Imbued with various separations and specific…

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A Billion Fewer in Poverty Since 1980

The Great Enrichment

by Mike Kapic January 19, 2019

As explained by Dan Mitchell, Deirdre McCloskey gives a simple explanation of why the world is richer today. Classical liberal ideas trump capitalism which trumps socialism and communism. This is why we should be educating the new Democrats on true liberalism and not buying what they’re selling.

Professor Deirdre McCloskey in the New York Times and from Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World

The Great Enrichment began in 17th-century Holland. By the 18th century, it had moved to England, Scotland and the American colonies, and now it has spread to much of the rest of the world.

Economists and historians agree on its startling magnitude: By 2010, the average daily income in a wide range of countries, including Japan, the United States, Botswana and Brazil, had soared 1,000 to 3,000 percent over the levels of 1800. People moved from tents and mud huts to split-levels and city condominiums, from waterborne diseases to 80-year life spans, from ignorance to literacy. …50 years ago, four billion out of five billion people lived in…miserable conditions. In 1800, it was 95 percent of one billion.

Deirdre then explains that classical liberalism produced this economic miracle.

What…caused this Great Enrichment? Not exploitation of the poor, …but a mere idea, which the philosopher and economist Adam Smith called “the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice.” In a word, it was liberalism, in the free-market European sense. Give masses of ordinary people equality before the law and equality of social dignity, and leave them alone, and it turns out that they become extraordinarily creative and energetic. …we eventually need capital and institutions to embody the ideas, such as a marble building with central heating and cooling to house the Supreme Court. But the intermediate and dependent causes like capital and institutions have not been the root cause. The root cause of enrichment was and is the liberal idea, spawning the university, the railway, the high-rise, the internet and, most important, our liberties.

In other words, says Dan Mitchell, the right ideas are the building blocks that enable the accumulation of capital and the development of institutions.

Deirdre’s analysis is critical. She reminds us that investment doesn’t merely depend on good tax policy and rule of law doesn’t magically materialize. You need a form of societal capital as the foundation.

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