Capitalism

From the New Symposium Society: Capitalism and Socialism

From the New Symposium Society: Capitalism and Socialism

The New Symposium Society held a public forum on the topic “Capitalism and Socialism” on the campus of Friends University on August 20, 2019. Audio from the event is below. One participant remarked that the forum provided a format that led to a “remarkable exercise in polite public discussion that is unusual in these hyper-politically charged times.” Another participant commented, “I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation with truly diversified, intelligent, polite participants.” A special thank you is in order to New Symposium trustee Bob Love for his masterful job of acting as the informal “catalyst” in facilitating the meeting discussion. He…
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From Pachyderm: Robert L. Bradley, Jr.

From Pachyderm: Robert L. Bradley, Jr.

From the Wichita Pachyderm Club: Robert L. Bradley, Jr. He is CEO and Founder of Institute for Energy Research, visiting fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London, and an adjunct scholar at both the Cato Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. His topic at the Pachyderm Club was "The Contra-Capitalist Corporation (In Search of Heroic Capitalism)." This audio recording was made on November 2, 2018. The accompanying visual presentation may be viewed here. Shownotes Institute for Energy Research and on Facebook Books by Robert Bradley: Enron Ascending: The Forgotten Years, 1984-1996, Capitalism at Work, Edison to Enron: Energy…
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Historic preservation tax credits, or developer welfare?

Historic preservation tax credits, or developer welfare?

A Wichita developer seeks to have taxpayers fund a large portion of his development costs, using a wasteful government program of dubious value. When you hear of a program titled "historic preservation tax credits" you might find yourself in agreement. Preserving history: Who can be against that? And tax credits: Aren't those just technical adjustments on someone's tax form? If you look closely, however, you'll find that the historic preservation tax credits program can include buildings with only the slightest historic significance, and has great cost to taxpayers. The Colorado-Derby Building at 201 N Water Street in Wichita has been…
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Myth: Markets promote greed and selfishness

When thinking about the difference between government action and action taken by free people trading freely in markets, many myths abound. Tom G. Palmer has written an important paper that confronts these myths about markets. The second myth -- Markets Promote Greed and Selfishness -- and Palmer's refutation is below. The complete series of myths and responses is at Twenty Myths about Markets. Palmer is editor of the recent books for Students for Liberty: The Morality of Capitalism, After the Welfare State, Why Liberty, and Peace, Love & Liberty. Myth: Markets promote greed and selfishness Myth: People in markets are…
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Corporate cronyism harms America

As the Wichita Business Journal features an interview with Charles Koch today, here's a repeat of his article from September 2012 in which he address many of the same topics as covered in the WBJ interview. "The effects on government are equally distorting -- and corrupting. Instead of protecting our liberty and property, government officials are determining where to send resources based on the political influence of their cronies. In the process, government gains even more power and the ranks of bureaucrats continue to swell." The editorial in today's Wall Street Journal by Charles G. Koch, chairman of the board…
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Your local chamber of commerce: Working for you?

Very often, local chambers of commerce support principles of crony capitalism instead of pro-growth policies that allow free enterprise and genuine capitalism to flourish. We may soon have an example of this in Wichita, where business leaders are tossing about ideas for tax increases. I distinguish between "business leaders" and "capitalists." Most people probably think that local chambers of commerce, since their membership is mostly business firms, support pro-growth policies that embrace limited government and free markets. But that's not always the case. Here, in an excerpt from his article "Tax Chambers" Stephen Moore explains: The Chamber of Commerce, long…
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Americans for Prosperity-Kansas applauds Sedgwick County Commission for rejecting public financing for Bowllagio

TOPEKA, KAN -- The Kansas chapter of the grassroots group Americans for Prosperity applauds the Sedgwick County Commission for rejecting the proposed tax-increment financing (TIF) district for the Bowllagio development in Wichita. “We are pleased that Sedgwick County commissioners unanimously voted against public funding for this entertainment development,” said AFP-Kansas grassroots coordinator Susan Estes. “Commissioners apparently realized it wasn’t a good deal for taxpayers in Wichita and Sedgwick County.” Estes said this proposed development was another example of a developer receiving several layers of public financing, and that additional public financing would give the Bowllagio developers an unfair advantage over…
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Charles Koch profiled in Forbes

The new issue of Forbes features a cover story on Charles and David Koch. It is very interesting and seems a balanced and fair article, but there are a few things that stand out. (Inside The Koch Empire: How The Brothers Plan To Reshape America.) An example: "Both Kochs innately understand that -- unlike the populist appeal of their fellow midwestern billionaire Warren Buffett and his tax-the-rich advocacy -- their message of pure, raw capitalism is a much tougher sell, even among capitalists." I think the author should have written "even among business executives" rather than capitalists. That's because Charles…
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Capitalism and business: The same thing?

Is "capitalism" and "business" the same thing? Most people would probably answer yes, but that's a mistake. In a video from LearnLiberty.org, a project of Institute for Humane Studies, Professor Steve Horwitz explains the difference: "He refutes the often recited claim that 'What is good for General Motors is good for America' by explaining that pro-business legislation encourages behavior that is not beneficial to society or the business itself. He suggests that, in a free market, factors such as profit and competition encourage behavior that ultimately benefits society. Professor Horwitz illustrates that pro-business legislation restricts progress and therefore caters to…
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What’s wrong with Charles and David Koch?

In a column on his website, Fran Tarkenton wonders why Charles and David Koch are the targets of so much criticism. He writes: "So why do we vilify people who represent the greatness of America? Is it just because they have different political beliefs? It’s time to stop demonizing people who do things the right way and generate tremendous wealth -- and value to all Americans. Those are the people we should celebrate, whether you agree with their politics or not! If we want to preserve America as the great place it is, we need more entrepreneurs, more innovators --…
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Free will and government charity

Those who call on government intervention to take care of the less fortunate and who rely on Christian teachings to support such government action, often conveniently forget that government is based on coercion, not the free will that God created us with. As P.J. O'Rourke wrote: "There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as 'caring' and 'sensitive' because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he's willing to try to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a…
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Charles G. Koch: Corporate cronyism harms America

"The effects on government are equally distorting -- and corrupting. Instead of protecting our liberty and property, government officials are determining where to send resources based on the political influence of their cronies. In the process, government gains even more power and the ranks of bureaucrats continue to swell." The editorial in today's Wall Street Journal by Charles G. Koch, chairman of the board and CEO of Wichita-based Koch Industries contains many powerful arguments against the rise of cronyism. The argument above is just one of many. In his article, Koch makes an important observation when he defines cronyism: "We…
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Charles Koch: The importance of economic freedom

Charles Koch, chairman of the board and CEO of Wichita-based Koch Industries, contributes the following article on the importance of economic freedom and the harm of cronyism. Another article written by him on this topic is Charles Koch: Why Koch Industries is speaking out. Koch is also the author of the book The Science of Success: How Market-Based Management Built the World's Largest Private Company. More about the importance of economic freedom may be found at www.economicfreedom.org, a project of the Charles Koch Institute, and also at Perspectives. In 1990, the year before the collapse of the Soviet Union, I…
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Wichita-area economic development policy changes proposed

The City of Wichita and Sedgwick County are considering a revision to their economic development policies. Instead of promoting economic freedom and a free-market approach, the proposed policy gives greater power to city bureaucrats and politicians, and is unlikely to produce the economic development that Wichita needs. A new feature of the proposed policy implements property tax forgiveness for speculative industrial buildings, with a formula that grants a higher percentage of tax forgiveness as building size increases. And, in a stroke of pure bureaucratic central planning, the ceilings of these buildings must be at least 28 feet high. The policy…
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Palmer, activist for capitalism, to speak in Wichita

I'd like to call your attention to, and invite you to attend, a lecture next week in Wichita. The speaker is Tom G. Palmer, and he will be speaking on topics from his recent book The Morality of Capitalism. I met Tom last year when I spent my summer vacation attending Cato University, which Tom is director of. He is a fascinating speaker. His background includes feats such as smuggling books, photocopiers, and faxes into the Soviet Union. Currently he is Vice President for International Programs at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, General Director of the Atlas Global Initiative for…
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Intellectuals vs. the rest of us

At a recent educational meeting I attended, someone asked the question: Why doesn't everyone believe what we (most of the people attending) believe: that private property and free exchange -- capitalism, in other words -- are superior to government intervention and control over the economy? It's question that I've asked at conferences I've attended. The most hopeful answer is ignorance. While that may seem a harsh word to use, ignorance is simply a "state of being uninformed." That can be cured by education. This is the reason for this website. This is the reason why I and others testify in…
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Political cronyism has become the way

"A society whose businesses engage in cronyism instead of serving people will not be prosperous, and in America it is clear that cronyism is becoming a more common choice," writes Sam Patterson at EconomicFreedom.org. Cronyism is the practice of seeking business success through government rather than through markets. The difference is that business succeeds in the market by providing goods and services that people are willing to buy. Political cronyism, on the other hand, results in people being forced to buy from, or to otherwise involuntarily subsidize, certain business firms that have succeeded in the political arena. In Kansas, despite…
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Raising minimum wage not the solution

As calls mount to raise the federal minimum wage, we need to remember that this law -- as well-intentioned as it may be -- is not the solution to unemployment or raising the standard of living of workers. The great appeal of a higher minimum wage mandated by an act of Congress is that it seems like a wonderfully magical way to increase the wellbeing of low-wage workers. Those who were earning less than the new lawful wage and keep their jobs after the increase are happy. They are grateful to the lawmakers, labor leaders, newspaper editorialists, and others who…
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Mike Pompeo: We need capitalism, not cronyism

In a guest column written for Americans for Prosperity, Kansas, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita explains why political cronyism, sometimes called crony capitalism, is wrong for our country. Pompeo coins a useful new term: "photo-op economics" to describe why some politicians support wasteful federal spending projects -- as long as the spending is wasted in their districts. Then logrolling -- the trading of legislative favors -- applies, and those legislators who received votes from others to support wasteful spending must now reciprocate and support other wasteful spending. Pompeo touches on an important aspect of public policy that is not…
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For President Obama, internet is just another job-killer

John Hinderaker of Powerline Blog seems to understand just where President Barack Obama thoughts come from. Hinderaker writes: "This is one more reminder -- as if we needed it -- that President Obama has no understanding of the economy. He is, at heart, a Luddite. He doesn’t understand that when work is made more efficient, as by the internet, our economy becomes more productive and we are all better off." Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who smashed mechanical looms because they felt the machines were destroying jobs. Here's the full article, including video: Welcome to Texas!
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