“Don’t Eat Your Dog: The Surprising Moral Case for Free Enterprise”

Eight-minute video by AEI president Arthur Brooks. (Send the link to your Liberal friends! Or, more importantly, to those undecided swing voters.)

Personally, I think moral cases for free enterprise are nice but unnecessary. I think the material propserity and personal freedom engendered by free enterprise is more than sufficient.

“From the time of Pericles until the end of the 18th century in London–2,300 years,” notes Harvard Prof. Lawrence Summers, “standards of living on Earth increased perhaps 100%.” In the U.S. since 1790, by contrast, real per capita gross domestic product has increased nearly 4,000%. Quality of life, in other words, increased 40 times more in 220 years of American history than it had globally over two millennia. In 2012, a typical American in the bottom fifth of the income distribution has a far higher quality of life–and life expectancy–than the average member of the top 1% in 1790.

But as they say, there are many roads to nirvana. If a moral case converts some people, I’m all for it.

Craig Newmark

Associate Professor of Economics, North Carolina State Univ.

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