First of all, thank you for coming to my free market Ted Talk, and I’d like to acknowledge that you here reading this sentence are among the blessed few who actually read an article instead of simply react to the headline.
So now, let’s talk about the free market.
It really should be four words, not two. People often use the word “capitalism” to refer to the free market system, but historically, this appears to be a term used to deride those proponents of the free market. The word “capitalism” implies that the system is set up to benefit only those with capital, not all participants.
I think even a cursory review of poverty statistics over the last hundred years shows this is simply not true. Across the globe, millions of people have had their lives improved when the free market is allowed to allocate resources to achieve the most effective and profitable outcome for everyone involved.
This is why I think it should be referred to instead as the “blessed free market system.” I admit, this change in nomenclature would be an uphill battle.
In so many ways, the free market has improved our lives to such a degree that it would be completely impossible for the vast majority of humanity to imagine living like their forebears did just a hundred years ago. Compare this to those living a thousand years ago. Their circumstances did not change or improve much from generation to generation for countless years. But thanks to the free market system and the societies that implemented the circumstances for it to flourish, our quality of life has improved incredibly quickly.
Here is the section that will upset many people on the right, but I must state out of good conscience and intellectual honesty. It would be absurd to sing the praises of the free market without acknowledging the abuses. Wherever there is a good thing granted to humanity by God, there will be terrible humans to take advantage of it and ruin it for others. This is of course the same with the free market.
I will not address all the critiques of the free market system except to point out one major fallacy that underlines many of them. Many, though not all, of the critics of the free market do not compare it to other systems already in place in the world but instead compare it to a magical concept of a utopian ideal that exists only in their minds. This is irrational for all the obvious reasons that readers can ascertain for themselves.
This is not to say that we should never criticize our particular expression of the free market. A great theory can be implemented in various different ways, and we should be allowed to criticize its various applications in aid of seeking to improve it for all members of our society.
Lastly, it is important to note that this system is not good because it will make you happy. It won’t. The ability to make money and save money and invest money is a good thing. But as the founders noted about the republic they created for us, it cannot give you happiness; it can only give you the opportunity to pursue your own happiness.
And that brings us to Thanksgiving. The holiday where we pause to visit with friends and family and remember what really makes us happy. Wealth doesn’t make us happy, but instead it gives us the opportunity to seek those relationships that truly make our life blessed on this miraculous Earth.
So enjoy your time with friends and family, and be grateful for all the blessings God has given you. Including the blessed free market system.
That’s it. Thank you again for coming to my Ted Talk. Enjoy your turkey, and in all things, be thankful to God.