The foundation of capitalism is individual rights. As such, capitalism is essentially a social system. It is from this perspective that Andrew Bernstein’s Capitalism UnBound stunningly shows why and how the protection of individual rights gives rise to prosperity and creates a nation of benevolently generous wealth holders.
Bernstein adroitly concretizes individual rights to illustrate one’s personal stake in capitalism. In a slim volume (133 pages), he offers in clear language aimed at the layman a riveting presentation of capitalism’s true nature.
He then proceeds to a galvanizing review of its antipode—collectivism—in the form of socialism. Shuddering examples of socialism’s destructiveness show the reader that every socialist system is a loot-and-kill system, fully dependent on the able. Looters and killers do not create values. Ergo, they cannot sustain themselves without victims.
In one of a score of astute observations, Bernstein states: “If socialism, not capitalism, were the political-economic system generating prosperity, then Cuba, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union would be (or have been) wealthy—and the United States and other capitalist (or semi-capitalist nations) poor. But the reverse is manifestly true.”
Mixed economies lead to totalitarianism, Bernstein states. He backs up his statement providing a hair-raising examination of various government policies that plague us today in our own mixed economy—policies with which a government hog-ties and castrates producers, employer and employee alike, that seek to earn their own way and enjoy life.
He examines government-enforced coercive monopolies, government-enforced coercive unions, government-enforced coercive practices of the Federal Reserve, government’s coercive policies that led to and prolonged the Great Depression, and the current financial disaster wrought by the government’s interference in mortgages and lending, the so-called “Affordable Housing” program. He identifies what politicians, appointees and bureaucrats have done, covered up and blamed on banks, financial institutions and other businesses across the board, including private investors and traders.
Capitalism Unbound is an impassioned declaration that every human being has the right to life, property, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that the protection of these rights and the freedom to exercise them constitute certain moral principles, which men need in order to live life qua man.
Every social system rests on some ethical point of view. The nucleus of every ethics is its view of man’s basic relationship to existence. Does man have the right to live for himself or must he live for others? Bernstein demonstrates with dozens of examples why egoism is the life-promoting force of the individual, of the group, of a culture—and why altruism is the destroyer. He shows that it is capitalism’s recognition of a man’s right to live for himself that makes it the greatest and the only moral social-political-economic system.