Our Benefactor, Capitalism | Thomas J. DiLorenzo



public is published by a division of Random House called crown forum and it's a same publisher of Ann Coulter's books and they do great artwork they didn't have a picture of the Mayflower here I guess coming on into a into the harbor and I asked them to put a picture of Ann Coulter and that rubber dress of hers i would sell more but they didn't think that would be appropriate as far as that goes but i probably would have sold three or four times more done that but the genesis of this book was uh i didn't have any trouble getting it published because my publisher came to me and it was at the time of the Enron scandal and all that and and they were convinced there be a new round of bashing of capitalism in since they liked my writing Lee they asked me to write a book there's sort of a popular defense of capitalism that draws on mostly historical episodes of American capitalism so that's what it was I proposed a title real capitalism cuz I might the real Lincoln I thought the real capitalism will be a follow of it they chose this title how capitalism saved America which I don't like that much but they know the marketing pros and so it's aimed at a general audience kind of like Tom Woods's book it's I picked the number of historical episodes it's not a comprehensive economic history of America or anything of that sort but but one of the things that motivated me to put the first chapter together is that it seems to me that most Americans apart from academics who hear the word capitalism really think of mercantilism or sonio mercantilism they think of you know all the deals that they read about the paper these cozy relationships between the defense contractor and the government or some some and run and a government that's capitalism but as you know it's corporatism or mercantilism something else and so I thought I'd just lay out it is plain English as possible for me what capitalism is in the first chapter in relying heavily on the work of von Mises and Hayek and freedmen and all the heroes of the most of the people in this up in this room intellectual heroes and then I wrote a chapter on anti-capitalism to talk about some of the reasons for anti-capitalism Hayek has wrote a famous essay on this intellectuals and the socialism and intellectuals of a kinain mo was and then of course von Mises wrote the anti-capitalist mentality and I quote those expend extensively and just talk about the mercantilist or neo mercantilist as opponents of capitalism also not the business class that business American business people are capitalism's worst enemies for them for the most part and most people don't don't seem to understand that and so I thought it'd be useful to lay this all out yeah for a general audience it has been adopted in a couple of universities San Diego State I just found out as a dolphin it and Karen de Coster till Mia Wallace college might be using a thin in a few other places and so votes about the bulk of the book he is um I try to make clearly written but drawn on a lot of research that that's been done by myself and other people and documented in footnoted of case studies and I start with them the Pilgrims and the real fascinating story of how via the American pilgrims almost starve to death because they practice essentially collectivized agriculture once they introduce some kind of property rights that seems to save the day I thought that'd be a good starting point since property rights are they the keystone of capitalism and didn't I wrote about the capitalist aspects of the American Revolution about how it was essentially partly anyway an attempt by the King of England to impose British mercantilism on the colonies to sort of suck them dry them through various taxes that was not the whole reason but that was part of it and I think that that's under appreciated by most Americans and I am you have a whole chapter on how the capitalism enriched the working class that's probably the most controversial among some some of the critics that I've run across because it doesn't say in that prosperity has been is exclusively by labor unions in government and so I criticize that to you and that is the mainstream view of most Americans that in a word for government regulation and labor unions would all be still be out there picking cotton 16 hours a day or so it's something worse than the rest of that the robber barons have a chapter on the robber barons in a I could hardly improve on Berk Folsom's work and Tom addresses us through his book anyone think he has a nice division between the real capitalists who made their money by providing great goods and services and low prices versus what he calls political entrepreneurs like Leyland Stanford for example who uses political connections as governor of California and the US senator to have a law passed making it pretty much illegal to compete with him in the railroad business in California and even I could make money the competition was illegal I mean business and so like Wilson does i wrote this chapter is trying to distinguish between the real crooks the real robber barons like leland stanford and and more of the free market entrepreneurs like james j hill who built the Great Northern Railroad I've written a lot on antitrust over the years I have a chapter called the antitrust myth and I first started writing ago I bought this in the early 80s in academic journals and I'm more convinced than ever that antitrust always was from the very beginning the protectionists racket in a fig leaf for protectionism tariffs pre fig leaf for pretend for tariffs for example three months after the Sherman Act was passed Sherman Antitrust Act was passed senator john sherman himself was the Senate sponsor McKinley tariff bill which the time I think was the biggest tariff increase in history at the time if not the biggest one of the biggest and so it wasn't it odd that then what the man people call the sort of a godfather of free enterprise three months after his Sherman Act passed that was named after him he wasn't necessarily the main sponsor was named after him championed protectionism you know some of the most extreme protectionism in the history of America at that point so I think was all fig leaf I also I also expand on Murray Rothbard work on Herbert Hoover and what an interventionist he is tried to expand on anyway and in most Americans are totally unaware of that the average person out there believes this this sort of ha high school civics lesson that Herbert Hoover was an advocate of lays a faire capitalism that's what caused the Great Depression FDR came to the rescue of Macedon interventionism naturally the exactly the opposite is true i think if you look at what Hoover did he made some great speeches people the people in this room would probably think we're great speeches after he was president you read some of his is late in his later years he sounded great kind of like Ronald Reagan his speeches sounded great but when he was in office wasn't so great he's quite quite the big interventionist and and of course I draw on the work of Bob Higgs and Galloway and better and others who have written about the Great Depression and to try to in plain English write about you know what the FDR's policies of the Great Depression years did in the conclusion is they essentially made the Great Depression longer and more severe than it would otherwise have been in addition to massively politicizing the economy and so I cannot cover a lot of that what I think is important ground the energy crisis of the 70s and I and I end up with a chapter on current attacks on capitalism and I do a couple of brief reviews of books by Roger Roger Moore with this kind of the fact that Michael Moore angle Roger Moore's James Bond not James Bond I like I'm a big James Bond fan Roger Moore but the michael moore and an eric schlosser and some of the more people who consider themselves sort of the the heirs to the muckraking anti-capitalist journalists of the early 20th century that are going to call themselves they'd like to compare themselves to Upton Sinclair propagandists for socialism with the book the jungle yeah way back when and it even says so on the back of Schlosser's book fast food nation that he's he's sort of like the 21st century version of Upton's in Kota st. Clair or or some others and so I sort of take that on in in which is pretty easy because especially with more the things he writes in there he's very popular you know New York Times bestseller all the time everybody writes and he says such things as on unions he looks at labor unions who negotiated with employers for temporary pay cuts to save their members jobs literally save the members jobs company did not go under the economic crisis ended the jobs were back there and the pay goes up those are sellouts not to him and those are the calls of dumb the name of the book of stupid white men so those are the stupid white men the one who saves the jobs of their own union members the smart white men are the ones who maintain their belligerence and did not negotiate or renegotiate their contracts with their companies and everyone gets laid off everyone lost their job those are the smart guys yes but these are these are the kind of books that are being written and also in colleges and universities these are these are being used as every most universities all freshmen are given the one one or two books to read during freshman orientation and books like this or the kind of book their reading and so I was looking at mine a sort of an antidote to that it won't be use much as a replacement for these books because faculty committees are usually overwhelmingly run by leftists but one of the things I found with my Lincoln book and one of things tom is finding out is guess what students can read books without their professors telling them which books to read and so a lot of a lot of students from all over the place are giving their professors a hard time with this stuff because they have ammunition they read books like this and they have ammunition now so that's so we're sort of in the ammunition manufacturing business okay right writing these new these uh these books here and maybe I'll stop there and so on that's all the time I have for now it's a brief overview




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