Here we have yet again, another case of me defending capitalism, but this time from criticisms put forth by a communist. This time, an Instagram user by the name of Vegan Communism offered up a criticism of capitalism through highlights of various death totals, which for whatever arbitrarily defined reason would be easily managed if capitalism did not exist. My response to each of his statistical arguments will be in italics.
Before I begin, I would like to say that I truly do not have the slightest understanding of how these numbers can be attributed to private ownership of the means of production. One conclusion I’ve arrived at is that any source of human sufferance in the world must be a direct result of capitalism. Not only is this a rather simplistic way of looking at economic organization, but it is rather disingenuous to use the graves of these people as stepping-stones to push forth your economic ideology which has provided nothing but sufferance, starvation, and mass death since its forthcoming. Without further ado, this was the argument that was produced.
- Capitalism is responsible for the deaths of 8 million people who perish from a lack of clean water every year.
I find it funny you’re complaining of a lack of access to clean water, but are opposed to private ownership of the means of production. Evidently, you are not aware of the shortage of clean water, and shortage of water in general, in socialist Venezuela. Under this dictatorial regime seeping with resource misallocation, starvation, and poverty, tap water is utterly disgusting and dams are closing down from an inability to generate enough electricity because of water shortages . Now, capitalism is not to blame for this lack of access to clean water. In fact, countries with greater economic freedom do tend to have better sanitation and access to clean water . It is no secret that greater economic freedom yields greater wealth for the masses, as well as a higher standard of living through greater access to indoor plumbing, and wastewater treatment systems. It is such a sad tale for me to turn on the news and watch the poor children in capitalist Hong Kong who must carry buckets of cholera-saturated water a great distance from the Sham Chun River back to their homes. Or perhaps I am thinking of the economically repressed countries of Northern Africa. It is hardly a new idea that privatization aids in the conservation of scarce resources, communists and socialists have been dodging this well-known point for decades. To quote Richard L.Stroup[ 3], “Access to clean water, sanitation measures, life expectancy, and deforestation all are more favorable in nations with stronger private property rights. When property rights were well protected, for example, about 90 percent of the population had access to safe water; but in nations with weak property rights, only about 60 percent of the people had that key health advantage.”
- Capitalism is responsible for the deaths of 7.665 million people who die from starvation every year.
It isn’t as if starvation occurred prior to capitalism, but I hate capitalism to such an extent that logic and statistics are meaningless. Socialists and Communists can never seem to blame their economic system, excess government regulation, or greater centralized planning for anything. I do not understand why it is that people living under these economically freer countries are starving to a greater degree than the most fortunate souls living under dictatorial economically repressive regimes, but are also living longer . I always thought that adequate nutrition was a necessary prerequisite for a lengthy life, but it seems that capitalism and all its utter tyranny have proved it to be false. Surely, the people who are butchering horses and their own pets in Venezuela are loving the lack of private ownership of resources within their country . To get directly to the statistic, it lacks any sort of logical coherence from the first digit to the last. To quote Julian Simon , “Which regime of political economy increases food supplies fastest? The first edition said that ‘almost all economists agree that a system of individual land-owning farmers operating in a politically stable free market, without price controls, leads to larger food production than does any other mode of organization,’ but I added, ‘Little about this can be known for certain.’ By 1993 enough evidence has accumulated to state: we now can be perfectly certain that the earlier assessment is entirely correct. Any country that gives to farmers a free market in food and labor, secure property rights in the land, and a political system that ensures these freedoms in the future will soon be flush with food, with an ever-diminishing proportion of its workforce required to produce the food.”
- Capitalism is responsible for the death of 3 million people from curable diseases.
If you look at the data in where there are the greatest number of people are dying from rather treatable diseases, it is in economically repressed nations. This is not a new phenomena. Greater economic freedom leads to greater wealth, and in turn, higher living standards. I could list off countless sources from various institutes, including the Left-leaning Brookings Institute, but it would be quite a waste of time. If you’re familiar with Botswana and their pursuit of economic freedom amidst their national struggle against AIDS , then you understand where I’m going with this.
- Capitalism is responsible for the death of 500,000 people a year from Malaria.
To pull from a speech given at the Tax Day Tea Party in San Jose some years back , “In just the past 25 years increased private ownership, increased free trade, and lower taxes all came at the hands of politicians like Deng Xiaoping in China, Margaret Thatcher in England, and Ronald Reagan in United States. In the years following the adoption of these policies by these global leaders, per capita income nearly doubled from 1980 to 2005; Tariffs fell and trade increased; Schooling and life expectancy grew rapidly, while infant mortality and poverty fell just as fast. In the average country that became more capitalist over the last 25 years, the average citizen gained a 43% increase in income, nearly half a decade in life expectancy, and a 2-year increase in the average years of schooling. In my lifetime alone, freer markets have improved the lives of billions of people from all walks of life. For example, in 1905, our average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47. Today it is 78. A hundred years ago only 14% of homes had a bathtub; 8% had a phone; 95% of all births took place at home; most women washed their hair once a month; and the average worker made about $300 per year.” The great things which we enjoy today, the longer life expectancy, the greater standard of living, they did not come from government control and regulation, or from state or democratic ownership of the means of production. What they did come from was private property rights, self-interest, economic efficiency, and economic freedom, which are integral to my system.
There are criticisms to be had against capitalism, but this steaming pile of ideological sludge is not one of them. To take statistics on deceased lives and use them as a stepping-stone for your economic system is troubling. Further, these statistics are tied incoherently to private ownership of the means of production. There is not any hard evidence you can cite to tie these misfortunes to economic freedom and laissez-faire capitalism. These incredulously invalid criticisms need to move down to the socialist paradise of Venezuela and feast on the abundance of food and clean water that the citizens of the utopian region are enjoying right now.