In discussing capitalism's attributes, argues J.T. Young at The American Spectator, we too often forget about peace:
Virtually all conflicts of the last century have been initiated by fettered market, authoritarian states. Often the world's armed conflicts have been between two such regimes. Contrastingly, military conflicts have almost never pitted two capitalist, democratic nations against one another.
Socialist, communist, fascist, or simply non-ideological dictator-governed nations have almost always been the world's aggressors. When capitalist democracies are drawn into armed conflict, it is almost always against such economically-fettered nations.
To prove his point, Young, who's worked in the federal
government and on Capitol Hill, points to the Korean Peninsula: "In
South Korea, a capitalist market, open society, and democracy exist. In
North Korea, a closed market, closed society, and totalitarian regime
exist. You also have a stark distinction between peace and war."
capitalist countries, Young says, war is a terrible economic
investment, since resources are deployed for unproductive rather than
productive ends. War only becomes an option when the long-term costs of
an enemy's continued aggression outweigh the short-term costs of
The economic calculation for non-capitalist nations
is reversed, he continues. Since, by definition, their
economies are not allocating resources optimally, conflict is actually
the best economic investment.
Young adds that free markets
are also likely to create free political systems whose checks and
balances make it difficult for the government to go to war or remain at war for a
protracted period of time, whereas the opposite is true in societies
with "fettered markets."
After citing the economists Milton Friedman and Frederick Hayek to support his claims, Young concludes: "capitalism is frequently credited with only the most prosaic of goals and ends in society. In fact, it is really the protector of society's most sublime goals."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.