This year, 2016, will mark the twentieth-fifth anniversary of the end of the Soviet Union from the political map of the world. A quarter of a century ago, the menace of Soviet-led communism, which had haunted the globe since the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917, disintegrated from within and passed into the dustbin of history.
Author: Richard Ebeling
Wherever we turn we are confronted with politicians, political pundits, television talking heads, and editorial page commentators, all of whom offer an array of plans, programs, and projects that will solve the problems of the world – if only government is given the power and authority to remake society in the design proposed.
If advocates of freedom were to make up a list of New Year’s resolutions for 2016, one of the most important items should be ending government’s monopoly control over money. In a free society, people in the marketplace should decide what they wish to use as money, not the government.
The year that is just closing, 2015, has been full of events that continue to dominate the news, including renewed racial tensions on the streets of American cities, growing fears about terrorist attacks on the territory of the United States, and one of the most fear-focused presidential campaign seasons in living memory.
At this annual time of good cheer it might seem Grinch-like to challenge the spirit of Santa Claus, but the reality is that there is no jolly, bearded, rotund man in a red suit who brings us goodies for free. And the Congressional Budget Office has recently reminded us of this in reference to Social Security.
Personal choice and freedom of association are two fundamental and essential principles of any truly free society, and this includes a free market workplace. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is spending taxpayer dollars to undermine those principles in other countries around the world.
Democratic Party hopeful, Bernie Sanders, recently outlined what it means for him to be a “democratic socialist.” The problem is that the same label might be applied to most of the other candidates running in both the Democratic and Republican parties running to be the nominee for presidency of the United States.
Uncle Sam has added nearly an additional half a trillion dollars to the national debt over the past twelve months. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Federal government ended its fiscal year on September 30, 2015 with a budget deficit of a “mere” $435 billion. Total Federal expenditures for the fiscal year were nearly $3.7 trillion, while Federal tax receipts came to around $3.3 trillion.
This time of the year, whether in good economic times or bad, is when Americans gather with their families and friends and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. It marks a remembrance of those early Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the uncharted ocean from Europe to make a new start in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What is less appreciated is that Thanksgiving also is a celebration of the birth of free enterprise in America.
Many in the media and some among the voting public are focused, now, on the field of candidates who are offering themselves as the presidential nominees of the Republican and Democratic Parties.
Bill Gates of Microsoft is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, so when he speaks it is not surprising that the world tends to listen. In a recent interview, Gates has said that capitalism is inherently unable to solve the problem of global warming, and instead there have to be world-encompassing government-business “partnerships” to save Planet Earth.
We are currently marking the hundredth anniversary of the fighting of the First World War. For four years between the summer of 1914 and November 11, 1918, the major world powers were in mortal combat with each other. The conflict radically changed the world. It overthrew the pre-1914 era of relatively limited government and free market economics, and ushered in a new epoch of big government, planned economies, and massive inflations, the full effects from which the world has still not recovered.
Free, competitive markets have been the engine for both freedom and prosperity. In addition, free market capitalism is morally based on the principle of individual rights to life, liberty and honestly acquired property, in which all social relationships require the voluntary and mutual consent of the participants.
There is no way to describe current Federal Reserve policy other than as monetary confusion and misdirection. In a nutshell, Janet Yellen and the other members of the Fed’s Board of Governors have no idea what to do. Do they raise certain interest rates over which they have some direct influence? Do they keep them at their current rock bottom levels, as they have for the last six years?
Since the economic downturn of 2008, the critics of capitalism have redoubled their efforts to persuade the American people and many others around the world that the system of individual freedom and free enterprise has failed.
When is the price of some marketable good or service at or near zero? When either the supply of it is so plentiful that virtually any demand, no matter how great, can be satisfied. Or when no matter how large or small the supply of it may be, people’s demand for it is so low that nobody is willing to practically pay anything for it.
For over a decade, now, the American economy has been on an economic rollercoaster, of an economic boom between 2003 and 2008, followed by a severe economic downturn, and with a historically slow and weak recovery starting in 2009 up to the present.
With the seventieth anniversary this year of the end of the Second World War, a number of commentators have focused on the presumed “unity” of America seven decades ago to “win the war” against global tyranny and international aggression by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Individuals put aside their individual personal and petty interests to support and fight for a “greater collective cause.”
There is little that happens in society in general and the market economy in particular that most on the political “left” do not think needs more government intervention, regulation, and redistribution to make “better.”
One of the great voices for personal liberty was that of the British economist and political philosopher, John Stuart Mill. His essay, “On Liberty,” though penned well over 150 years ago, is a classic statement that the individual should be respected in his right of freedom of thought, speech and action.