Gary North has written an excellent article on capitalism. His article is titled "In Defense of Shopping Malls".
This is the beginning of a new year and it is good to step back once in a while and appreciate all that is around you. Our lives are so incredibly easy in so many ways compared to the rich of 100 years ago. It's not to say that we don't have difficulties and tragedies. It is just to say that, on average, our standard of living is amazingly higher than people of just a few generations ago. There are still people all over the world who are on the verge of starvation. But we are also at a point where we can safely say that over half of the earth's population is not on the verge of starvation. For Americans and other people of first world countries, our standard of living is in luxury mode.
It really makes you realize how bad the government is, how much better our lives would be with much smaller government, and how much we still have in spite of the government. The things that the government is highly involved in (healthcare, education) are the things that we struggle with in terms of quality and cost. When it comes to things where government interference is more minimal, things thrive. Electronics is the obvious example that comes to mind. You can buy a big screen television that is less than 2 inches thick for $1,000. This is truly amazing. This technology did not exist 20 years ago and not only is it available now, it is available to the middle class. Quality goes up, while prices go down and this is in spite of the Fed's monetary inflation.
Yesterday, I bought a $5 bottle of champagne at the grocery store just so that we would have something to celebrate with on New Year's Eve. For 5 bucks, it wasn't bad. It might have been bad to some people, but I am not an expert champagne drinker. Not only that, but the plastic cork screwed off and you could screw it back on easily to put the bottle back in the fridge. It is just one small example of our wonderful division of labor. Most people could not make a glass bottle, let alone actually making champagne.
Walmart and other retailers have been incredible in making things affordable for the little guy. You don't even have to shop there and you have still benefited by the increased price competition. It is the same way that the internet is forcing retailers to lower prices. Our standard of living really is incredible. It is unimaginable to think what we would have if the government at all levels did not regulate and tax us so onerously.
I think this is why liberty will eventually prevail. Our standard of living will go down in the near future, but Americans and other westerners will only tolerate so much. The wars overseas will end when Americans realize that it is hurting their standard of living. Welfare at home will be curtailed greatly when Americans realize that it is hurting their standard of living. Americans like their big screen televisions, their cell phones, and all of their other gadgets. They will not easily give them up.