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Your Opinion: Capitalism in America

Dear Editor:

Tony Smith is to be complimented on his concern for the poor among us. He also cautions us to beware of those who would create their own definitions to suit their own purposes.

Unfortunately, at the end of his letter here Sunday he fell victim to this very problem. He states, “Unrestricted capitalism has failed to provide a living wage to millions of citizens.” If he feels this is true it must be due to his personal definition of capitalism.

Capitalism is actually defined as “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.” The United States has not worked under ‘unrestricted capitalism’ since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913, and has been ever more restricted since the development of the military-industrial-congressional complex established and fed in increasing amounts since the end of World War II. Crony capitalism (not real unrestricted capitalism) is simply the latest mutation of this wasteful interference in the private markets by government and is the issue Smith should actually take to task.

Adam Smith (perhaps a distant relative of Smith’s), in the 1700s, points out the best reason that real capitalism benefits all citizens: “The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman (Note: an entrepreneur or businessman) is that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence.”

Let’s press our government to cease its favoring of selected industries and let Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ once again guide us to the most efficient application of our world’s resources. This is the best path to create jobs and opportunities for the less fortunate among us.­