This I Believe

tom - homewood, Illinois
Entered on August 22, 2007
Age Group: 65+
Themes: peace

This I believe:

World peace is spreading. Free enterprise provides the oil for reducing the friction of conflict among people. In societies where there is quite a bit of free enterprise conflicts are largely settled by negotiation – each side bargaining for what it wants and what it will trade. Conflicts are the result of one group or the other using the power of government to put down its opponents. Real free enterprise is when there is a basic level playing field the rules are simple and clear for everyone and the law allows everyone the same level of protection. Every thing else should be the result of mutual negotiations. Many countries are making moves to free enterprise from incredibly different histories. China and India are the biggest examples. Ireland has overcome centuries of poverty with free enterprise. Estonia is leading the Baltic states. The Kurds in Iraq have made great strides. Turkey is promising.

A level playing field means that governments do not use their considerable powers for or against anyone. In each country there are so many sides pushing to tilt the playing field back to their side, level may be hard to find. For example in Hernando de Soto’s book the “Mystery of Capital” he shows that free enterprise is constrained in many countries by multitudes of arcane laws that push vast portions (often more than half) of a countries populations outside the legal system and thwart their innate desires to better themselves.

On the other side countries like Zimbabwe, Cuba, Haiti, and North Korea are fighting for the bottom of the socialist barrel and with Bolivia and Venezuela doomed to follow.

In the last century there was a love affair with “social engineering” primarily soviet communism but also the many other regimes that where strident in there desire to ‘engineer” a better world for all. For example after the fall of Russia one reformed Marxist, Eugene Genovese said “we ended a seventy two year experiment with socialism with little more to our credit than tens of millions of corpses”. Russia accounted for over 60 million out of the over 262,000,000 people killed by their governments in the 20th century all to create a “better” man – (google: death by government)

What all the leaders of these countries have in common is a desired kind of citizen that they can mold and guide. Its like a parent who plans to control and guide his children forever – it will always be doomed to failure. Make no mistake about it, Hugo Chavez, like his idol Fidel Castro in Cuba, considers every one of Venezuela’s 27 million his children to reward and punish.

Free enterprise works because it releases the universal human desire for freedom and control over ones own life. The ability to put the creative powers given at birth to their maximum tests. By rewarding success and punishing risk it is self correcting – without laws. Because everything is voluntary the consumer is the king. Once a system like that works most of the other problems can be worked out.

If you want peace on earth, cheer on free enterprise as the lubricant to make the whole 6 billion strong world to work with a minimum of friction.