Capitalism After 911, American Air

The Heritage Foundations chart of “Global Distribution of Economic Freedom” stresses that nationalization leads to unemployment and a poor quality of life in the developing world, but some might counter that healthcare, government assistance, educational loans, and other state programs are needed to restrain the excesses of capitalism — as are government bailouts. Without government intervention unemployment may increase and an economic downturn will cycle into a depression, as a result of consumer fears of purchasing goods and fears of businesses of stimulating their productive capacity, generating new inventory and hiring new workers.

Others resist the idea of taxing innocent citizens to pay for businesses in need and see taxes as a drain on the economy, purely and simply. Ours is a nation founded upon the concept of no taxation without representation, and John Lockes ideal of government protecting property as well as the right to life and liberty might strongly as Frederic Bastiat said in his essay: “How to Recognize Legal Plunder,” theft is “when a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it — without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud — to anyone who does not own it,” which could be a definition of taxation if the citizen disagrees with how his or her money is used. For F.A. Hayek: “Economic Policy and the Rule of Law” robbing individuals of their property and their means to prosper robs them of their liberty, and the property and personal liberty cannot be easily separated, as both are tied to human security.

A world without taxation, a world without a strong federal government is an impossible dream, or at least, would be so insecure life would hardly be worth living. We live in an economic world where too many entities have gotten too big to fail, like banks, or are too vitally necessary for the economic success of our nation, like the airline industry. There is no turning back the clock and although we may not welcome all of the excesses of bureaucracy, we as a society cannot afford not to bail certain businesses out, even though it may be an uncomfortable encroachment upon our right to keep all we earn. Ceding certain liberties to the state is part of modern democracy, an idea with which Locke would agree. But these private enterprises must also sacrifice some of their freedom to be a part of a modern, capitalist nation state. It is unreasonable to ask citizens to give up some of their lives to the army, their liberty and property to support the government, and not ask private corporations to do the same. This is why appropriate regulation is so important: to ensure that bailouts such as what occurred after 9/11 and what is transpiring now in the banking industry remain mercifully rare in American.


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