Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

by on February 9, 2006 at 7:05 am in Economics | Permalink

"Capitalism is not much loved," writes Clive Crook in The Atlantic.

Seen a movie lately? Watched television or read a newspaper? The culture that speaks to Americans, and hence to the Western world, radiates suspicion of free enterprise….

The point is not that such movies, or the culture more generally, argue that capitalism is evil. Just the opposite: it is that they so often merely assume, innocently and expecting to arouse no skepticism, that capitalism is evil….

It is difficult to see where any heightened
appreciation of the market system is going to come from. Economists,
presumably, ought to be supplying it. Unfortunately, in most cases,
communicating a sense of wonder is not among their gifts. In some ways,
teachers of economics are probably making matters worse. As practiced
in universities, economics continues to turn inward, with ever more
emphasis on math, quantitative methods, and narrow specialization. You
can make a case for that, but it silences the discipline on the thing
that matters most.

Crook is right of course but his piece would have been a lot better had he mentioned the book Americans found most influential in their lives after the Bible.

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