This has enough truth in it to have persuaded most Americans to
accept it almost as a religious dogma. During the latter half
of the 19th and much of the 20th centuries, more and better goods
have become available to more people in Capitalist economies than
in non-competitive Marxist economies. Despite persistent pockets
of poverty, most developed capitalist economies had higher average
standards of living than controlled Communist ones, and the pressures
of the market on capitalists to produce more popular goods at
lower prices clearly have a lot to do with this.
But capitalism is not always competitive. The Japanese economy
thrived for several decades by strictly controlling competition.
Would-be monopolists are always emerging as natural products of
capitalism, threatening to do away with competition from capitalist,
not socialist motives. If people have been able to raise their
standards of living it has been partly because of the work of
labor unions and those who have agitated for minimum wage and
maximum work day laws, all denounced as harmful to free competition.
Sometimes it is the capitalists who fear the free operation of
the market and call for regulation. When employment is high and
people are achieving higher wages, the stock market frets about
inflation and creates pressures on government regulatory agencies
to "cool off" the economy, creating more widespread
unemployment and lower wages.
As the Asian "tigers" (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc.) stumble
in their pursuit of regulated capitalism, the free marketers are
currently triumphant; but the record of the unregulated market
in post-Communist Russia is not inspiring. That unregulated capitalism
could produce misery was demonstrated during the industrial revolution,
and the demonstration has been often repeated since. No society
can long tolerate the entire lack of restraints on business, and
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