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How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold…

How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, from the…

by Thomas DiLorenzo

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202491,482 (3.97)1
Challenges popular misconceptions about capitalism and its role in the building of America, covering such topics as the necessity of business regulation and the consequences of capitalism.



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This is an exceptional book. In an episode of kismet, I purchased this book for no other reason than to just read and learn history; I made no coordinated effort to compliment my learning as I began an introductory macroeconomics course. However, not only does this book layout a comprehensive history of capitalism, complimented by some in-depth arguments against government intervention, How Capitalism Saved America dovetails nicely with the terminology and concepts I am learning. Despite my current familiarization with economic theory, one need not be versed in the jargon or advanced practice; this is clearly written to enlighten those at every level of understanding.

Thomas DiLorenzo provides measured and logical arguments against Marxist ideals and anticapitalist's relentless battle against capitalism: the economic model which made America a great nation. There is no doubt left wing call for regulations and intervention by the government are attempts to destroy America's history of free-market individualism and responsibility. What might surprise some readers would be Mr. DiLorenzo's bi-partisanship. Most of the examples he provides as examples of (federal) governmental intervention were often done under administrations of Republicans. Buzz phrases like "leveling the playing field" or "fair competition" should cause alarm in the average citizen or market leading competitor alike. There is a grain of truth to the Left's lamentation of government being for the "big guy," but the outcome usually harms the little guy worse than the perceived "price gouging" or "unfair business practices" they plead the government to regulate!

Perception is everything, and nothing is more pervasive in unintended consequences (or these ill effects may be quite intended). The prevailing perception is that capitalism is ruining our government when there has not been a purely capitalistic market since shortly after our nation's founding. Each "boom" has led to the claims of victimization by "big business;" likewise, each "bust" has garnered the same accusation. In either case more regulation is the typical outcome which only further upsets a free-market and creates worsening problems which are blamed on capitalism.

From federal and state subsidization of roads and canals in the dawn of the 19th century to breaking up so-called "monopolies" (despite market leaders like Standard Oil which had hundreds of competitors bringing down market prices through innovation and efficiency) in the 20th century to present day "milker bills" which urge corporations to hire lobbyists, America has not had a free system of trade based on human nature. Mr DiLorenzo shows the folly of President Hoover's interventions (which President Obama is re-employing to the same effect) and how they brought about the Great Depression. He also compares President Roosevelt's mirror image programs to Mussolini's economic fascism. Think this is revisionist history? Well, Roosevelt's economic adviser wrote a laudatory letter of Mussolini as a preface to a book.

In short, the less capitalism, via overbearing regulations, price controls, stifling competition via government actions, the more it is blamed for unintended consequences (which are either ignored or altogether no predicted) which further harm our economy. As we loose the ability to exercise personal responsibilities, normal market equilibrium mechanisms are thwarted, and contract law and private property rights are weakened to punish successful business, we drift farther away from capitalism to a centralized economy which preformed so well for countries behind the Iron Curtain (ironically, countries environmentalists and human rights advocates elevate above the wretched United States but actually "raped" the land for resources and victimized its citizens in order to create a human free of desires which Adam Smith described in his Invisible Hand theory). ( )
  HistReader | May 26, 2012 |
Not being an economic genius, I found this book to be a fascinating read and very easy to understand. ( )
1 vote Rhohanin61 | Mar 18, 2008 |
Fantastic, popularly accessible work explaining the crucial role of the free market in the development of the United States. ( )
1 vote CitizenClark | Mar 1, 2008 |
A very good primer on libertarian economic theory and their perspective on the history of the United States. Nothing particularly new or shocking here; all the usual points are covered, and all the typical questions are ignored. Textbook free-market fundamentalism. ( )
  derekstaff | Sep 23, 2007 |
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To Ludwig von Mises, the twentieth century's most dedicated and accomplished champion of free markets, individual liberty, and the free society.
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