Capitalism is more than an ‘intellectual argument’

By Tom Quiner


Is the president crazy or simply ill-informed?

I pose the question in light of Barack Obama’s remarks to Argentina youth:

“So often in the past there has been a division between left and right, between capitalists and communists or socialists, and especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate. Those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it really fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory. You should just decide what works.”

Here’s what works: capitalism.

Here’s what does not work: socialism and communism.

Obama intoned that a market-based system “has to have a social and moral and ethical and community basis” at the same time he praised Cuba for providing “free access to basic education and health care.”

Cuba has no social an moral ethical basis. America does. Cuban leaders simply imprison their political adversaries. They suppress religious, civil, and economic liberties.

Socialism breeds poverty and dependence. Cuba and Hong are case studies.

In 1961, Cuba embraced unabashed socialism while Hong Kong embraced unabashed capitalism.

Interestingly, Cuba owns some nice assets, such as productive agriculture thanks to their rich soil; such as 7% of the world’s Nickel and Cobalt reserves; such as 20 billion barrels of oil reserves (top 20 in the world); such as tourism, thanks to their beautiful beaches. Oh, and their people were well-educated.

By contrast, Hong Kong had nothing except a harbor and uneducated people.

When the Castro brothers took over then-capitalist Cuba, how did they leverage their nation’s considerable assets? Under their new socialism system, per capita GDP rose from about $2500 in 1961 to about $4000 by 2007.

By contrast, Hong Kong’s per capita GDP grew from about the same starting point as Cuba in 1961 to over $30,000 by 2007. To make this really simple, the Hong Kong economy grew more than 7 times faster than Cuba’s.

Poland experience a similar spurt in prosperity after gaining freedom from communistic religious, civil, and economic oppression, as you can see at the chart above. Their economy was stagnant in the 1980s. When independence was gained from Soviet domination in 1989, GDP exploded. Today it is quadruple what it was under communism.

We know what works. President Obama exhibits incredible ignorance to suggest that communism, socialism, and capitalism exist on the same plane morally and economically.

Capitalism is freedom, something Americans are willing to die for.

Communism and socialism are all about relinquishing freedom, a proposition that doesn’t seem to bother Barack Obama.


  1. sklyjd on March 26, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    I have to comment here Tom, I find Americans love putting things and people into categories.

    I believe you cannot have successful capitalism in the Western democracies without a certain degree of socialist policies that include human related services etc. So finding the middle ground is the logical answer.

    Many people these days avoid labelling themselves because extremism in any issue, left or right, is often regarded as discrimination and bigotry.

    I do believe however that in some of these issues especially regarding human lives we do need to draw the line in the sand.

    • quinersdiner on March 26, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      Americans believe in a social safety net. The only argument is how high or how low. That is not inconsistent with capitalism. Thanks for writing!

  2. parrillaturi on March 26, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Obama does not care whom he hurts, so long as his skewed agenda, and/or well thought of agenda is implemented. It’s like telling a child to choose what he likes, no matter what the consequences. If it feels good, do it.