Bernie Sanders’s entry into the presidential race has sparked a nationwide conversation about socialism and its potential to remedy the real and perceived pathologies suffered by Americans. The underlying problem with socialists like Bernie Sanders is that they do not actually believe (or understand) in economics at all. As Ludwig von Mises himself has pointed out, socialism is not an economic theory — it is a theory of redistribution.
Since the economic downturn of 2008, the critics of capitalism have redoubled their efforts to persuade the American people and many others around the world that the system of individual freedom and free enterprise has failed. These critics have insisted that it is unbridled capitalism, set loose on the world, which is the source of all of our personal and society misfortunes. The political and economic crises through which the world suffers is not the crisis or failure of the free market. No, it is the crisis and failure of the interventionist-welfare state, and its anti-free market capitalist ideology.
A half-century ago, America - and then the world - was rocked by a mighty stock-market crash that soon turned into the steepest and longest-lasting depression of all time. Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it - except that now, with gold abandoned and each nation able to print currency ad lib, we are likely to wind up, not with a repeat of 1929, but with something far worse...
"...my personal strategy for change has morphed from speaking to power in favor of becoming a monk rather than a martyr. If I could stand in front of a tank and have it force positive change I would do so but clearly that opportunity won’t happen or present itself in this leaderless, narrowing, putrefied, lying lawless system of festering corruption. Beyond 2015, I fear it will continue to be everyman for himself and thus divided we'll fall having rejected the spirit of one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Friends of freedom often become despondent when it seems that every day brings another growth and intrusion of government over people’s lives. But there is no reason to be disheartened, because there are lessons for winning liberty – from the opponents of freedom. If we keep the classical liberal ideal of individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism before us, we can and will win liberty in our time – for our children and ourselves.
Time is nearly up for Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve who supposedly applied his scholarly knowledge of the Great Depression to steer the U.S. to safety after the financial crisis. In truth, Bernanke navigated a monetarist course that favored intensive intervention, following in the footsteps of many mainstream economists who grossly misunderstood the lessons of the Crash of 1929 and the ensuing malaise. That lesson is that when corrective crashes occur, intervention is far from the cure — it is the cause.
One of the sad narratives of the financial meltdown of 2008 and its aftermath is that it was and remains the result of unbridled capitalism. Too much freedom spoiled the economic broth. We must never tire of explaining the fallacies in the thinking of those who think the Great Recession is a clear case of the failure of capitalism. In fact, it is a quintessential example of the failures of interventionism to bring about anything other than economic destruction and relative impoverishment.
Predictions regarding the election outcome are all over the place. Dennis Gartman for instance thinks that 'Romney will win quite handily'. While this opinion may be largely informed by wishful thinking in this case, there are two interesting points made by Gartman. One concerns poll errors, and the other the Bradley (or Wilder) effect (or 'political correctness effect' - i.e., it is not motivated by racism, but by the fear of people that they might be seen as racist). Jim Cramer is taking the exact opposite view from Gartman's, expecting a 'landslide' victory for Obama. Of course Cramer wouldn't be Cramer if his forecast didn't stand out for being a bit extreme. The Princeton election consortium's latest update of the meta-analysis of the electoral vote count on the eve of the election continues to predict an Obama victory as well, but clearly the race is getting tighter. However, across the pond, it is clear that the Europeans see the election (and indeed any election it seems) very differently, highlighting their ignorance of the difference between 'total capitalism' and 'crony capitalism'.