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Libertarians mock the Left, May Day

by Edwin A. Locke Thursday, May. 08, 2003 at 10:44 PM

The giveaway, and the clue to the real motive of today's left and their hangers-on, is that all their protests are against -- they are anti-capitalism, anti-free trade, anti-using the environment for man's benefit -- but they are not for anything.

Celebrate capitalism on May Day

by Edwin A. Locke, Libertarian Party

May Day will once again be celebrated by left-wing and environmentalist protesters united by a single emotion: a virulent hatred of capitalism, especially global capitalism. Why the hatred?

The advantage of a global economy based on free trade and capitalism is so obvious and so enormous that it is difficult to conceive of anyone opposing it. The benefit is based on the law of comparative advantage: every country becomes more prosperous the more it invests in producing and exporting what it does best (in terms of quality, cost, uniqueness, etc.), and importing goods and services that other countries can produce more efficiently.

For example, let us say that Nigerian companies can produce T-shirts for a piece whereas U.S. companies can only produce them for a piece. Under free trade, Americans will buy their T-shirts from Nigeria. This division of labor benefits people in both countries. Nigerians will have more money to buy food, clothing and housing. Americans will spend less on T-shirts and have more money to buy cell phones and SUVs, and the investment capital formerly spent on T-shirts will be put to more productive uses, say in the area of technology or drug research.

Multiply this by millions of products and hundreds of countries and over time the benefits run into the trillions of dollars.

How, then, do we reconcile the incredible benefits of global capitalism with the anti-globalization movement? The protesters make three claims repeatedly.

First, they argue that multinational corporations are becoming too powerful and threaten the sovereignty of smaller nations. This is absurd on the face of it. Governments have the power of physical coercion (the gun); corporations do not; they have only the dollar -- they function through voluntary trade.

Second, anti-globalists claim that multinational companies exploit workers in poor countries by paying lower wages than they would pay in their home countries. Well, what is the alternative? It is: no wages!

The comparative advantage of poorer countries is precisely that their wages are low, thus reducing the costs of production. If multinational corporations had to pay the same wages as in their home countries, they would not bother to invest in poorer countries at all and millions of people would lose their livelihoods.

Third, it is claimed that multinational corporations destroy the environments of smaller, poorer countries. Note that if 19th-century America had been subjected to the environmental legislation that now pervades most Western countries, we ourselves would still be a third-world country. Most of the industries that made the United States a world economic power -- the steel, automobile, chemicals and electrical industries -- would never have been able to develop.

By what right do we deprive poor, destitute people in other countries from trying to create prosperity in the same way that we did, which is the only way possible?

All of these objections to global capitalism are just rationalizations. The giveaway, and the clue to the real motive of today's left and their hangers-on, is that all their protests are against -- they are anti-capitalism, anti-free trade, anti-using the environment for man's benefit -- but they are not for anything.

In the first third of the 20th century, most leftists were idealists -- they stood for and fought for an imagined, industrialized utopia -- Communism (or Socialism). The left's vision was man as a selfless slave of the state, and the state as the omniscient manager of the economy.

However, instead of prosperity, happiness and freedom, Communism and Socialism produced nothing but poverty, misery and terror (witness Soviet Russia, North Korea and Cuba, among others). Their system had to fail, because it was based on a lie. You cannot create freedom and happiness by destroying individual rights; and you cannot create prosperity by negating the mind and evading the laws of economics.

Furious over the fact that their envisioned utopia has collapsed in ruins, the leftists now seek only destruction. They want to annihilate the system that has produced the very prosperity, happiness and freedom that their system could not produce. That system is capitalism, the system of true social justice where people are free to produce and keep what they earn.

The fact that free trade is now becoming truly global is one of the most important achievements in the history of mankind. If, in the end, it wins out over statism, global capitalism will bring about the greatest degree of prosperity and the greatest period of peaceful cooperation in world history.

We should scornfully ignore the nihilist protesters -- they have nothing positive to offer. We should not only allow global capitalism; we should welcome it and foster it in every way possible.

It is time to rephrase Karl Marx: Workers of the world unite for global capitalism; you have nothing to lose but your poverty.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Edwin A. Locke, a Professor Emeritus of management at the University of Maryland at College Park, is a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, California.

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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 82 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Real Motives Meyer London Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 7:19 AM
Meyer your false presumption... Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 7:45 AM
Philosophy and such Libertarian Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 7:51 AM
The Real Libertarian Philosophy Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 8:45 AM
Diogenes Corporate CEO Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 8:48 AM
You are not paying attention,... Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 9:13 AM
Libertarians Meyer London Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 9:21 AM
Diogenes Hello? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 9:24 AM
socialized meds pill Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 9:52 AM
"pill" KOBE SBM Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 9:53 AM
To each according to their industry. Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 10:29 AM
Diogenes Hello? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 10:34 AM
Diogenes Libertarians are a joke Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 10:36 AM
Universal Health Care Meyer London Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 10:43 AM
Diogenes tl Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 10:49 AM
Reports of my death are Greatly Exaggerated. Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:07 AM
laimc fridayinjapan Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:12 AM
Diogenes tl Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:12 AM
fridayinjapan KOBE SBM Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:13 AM
tl ? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:16 AM
? tl Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:19 AM
tl ? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:20 AM
tl Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:21 AM
? KOBE SBM Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:23 AM
tl/KOBE SBM ? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:24 AM
? KOBE SBM Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:28 AM
tl ? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:36 AM
? KOBE SBM Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:37 AM
KOBE SBM ? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:41 AM
? KOBE SBM Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:43 AM
KOBE SBM ? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:47 AM
? Dan Quayle Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 11:49 AM
KOBE SBM ? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:02 PM
Here's your name tl Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:08 PM
tl ? Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:12 PM
Fascism is actually a rather... Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:46 PM
Philosophy and such Libertarian Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:53 PM
Idiot Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 12:58 PM
Freedom Meyer London Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 2:13 PM
Meyer London Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 2:16 PM
Marxism Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 3:56 PM
Philosophy and such Libertarian Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 5:39 PM
More on Marxism Diogenes Friday, May. 09, 2003 at 8:19 PM
I agree with ? Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 2:24 AM
That's a bullshit definition tl... Max Thrasher Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 2:30 AM
Max Thrasher Funk & Wagnall Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:01 AM
"what they can and can't do with their own bodies." Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:05 AM
Eric Funk & Wagnall Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:20 AM
Words of an addict. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:30 AM
Eric Funk & Wagnall Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:36 AM
So you think... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:43 AM
Eric Funk & Wagnall Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:48 AM
Yes, I do have a problem with that. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:51 AM
Eric skinhead Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:54 AM
yes, but you still haven't told us Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 7:57 AM
Fuerher Eric Anti-fascist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:05 AM
and you deserve one Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:15 AM
Eric Anti-fascist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:19 AM
Yes, I am. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:23 AM
Eric Anti-fascist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:27 AM
heh heh. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:27 AM
Eric George W. Bush Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:29 AM
are you implying... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:30 AM
Eric Anti-fascist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:34 AM
I think you're just projecting... Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:35 AM
I think you wouldn't know logic... Anti-fascist Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:40 AM
obviously, you've never seen my ass. Eric Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:41 AM
Eric Eric's blow-up doll Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 8:47 AM
Capitalism saves us from tyranny? Meyer London Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 11:00 AM
Pop quiz daveman Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 11:33 AM
daveman Max Thrasher Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 11:34 AM
Hush, fake guy... daveman Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 11:44 AM
daveman concerned for your mental health Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 11:45 AM
A few comments Diogenes Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 4:35 PM
This thread has a lot of garbage in it but......... Bush Admirer Saturday, May. 10, 2003 at 5:26 PM
Libertasrianism has been tried Meyer London Sunday, May. 11, 2003 at 1:00 PM
It's funny impartial observer for Satan Sunday, May. 11, 2003 at 1:18 PM
To Meyer Diogenes Monday, May. 12, 2003 at 5:33 AM
Cynicism The Dog Monday, May. 12, 2003 at 6:59 AM
I never said... Diogenes Monday, May. 12, 2003 at 9:19 AM
philosophers and dogs Sheepdog Monday, May. 12, 2003 at 11:40 AM
Libertarians in Britain Meyer London Monday, May. 12, 2003 at 12:16 PM

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