Three Cheers for Capitalist-Entrepreneurs!
Dr. Judd W. Patton
Professor of Economics, Bellevue University
Years ago the 1974 Nobel laureate in Economics, Friedrich Hayek, observed, “Sometimes
I think the most difficult task of all is to convince the capitalists
themselves of the merit in what they do.” Why is this? Here’s my
Business people today are so inundated by an anti-business mentality in
society that they have come to believe it themselves! Capitalists are
regularly portrayed as the bad guys on TV and in other media - with the
possible exception of conservative talk radio. In order to succeed, the
Hollywood stereotypical capitalist must lie, cheat, blackmail and even
murder. Omaha native Malcolm X evidently concurred with this sentiment: “You
show me a capitalist, I’ll show you a bloodsucker.”
Then there are the liberal intellectual teachers in some of our leading
universities and colleges proclaiming to young impressionable minds that
profit-seeking business and capitalistic, market institutions are the
problem rather than the solution. Many of our young people receive this very
antagonistic, and in my view, incorrect, view of business.
The field of Economics itself is in part responsible for spreading this
misconception. Many of you business people and entrepreneurs have probably
taken college courses in macro and/or microeconomics. Permit me to humbly
suggest that you learned quite a few economic myths, such as the following:
In micro class you learned that firms operating in the ideal market model,
Perfect Competition, earn no profit. In the real world, competitors earn
profits with higher prices and less output than this “perfect model.”
Therefore, the implication is that regulation is needed and that profit
causes higher prices and is thereby bad for consumers.
What nonsense! Profit is determined by entrepreneurial insight and alertness
and is earned by serving consumers well. Profit is good and essential to any
well-functioning economy. Losses are bad. How many jobs are created by firms
Here’s another myth, but from macroeconomics class: Your professor taught
that government, through fiscal and monetary policy, is necessary to manage
and stabilize the economy. Government can supposedly conduct
counter-cyclical policies to stimulate the economy, create jobs, and thereby
help business in times of recession.
The implication? Who is responsible for recessions? Why you are, you
evil-capitalistic, business people and entrepreneurs! You are responsible
for being too pessimistic and so callous as to lay off workers who need the
jobs to feed their hungry families.
The truth is just the opposite. Government cannot manage the economy! In
fact, Mr. Greenspan and the Federal Reserve cause the ups and downs in
business activity. By distorting interest rates through easy-money policies,
the Fed misleads you capitalist-entrepreneurs. The end result is an
inevitable cluster of business errors, losses and mal-investments. You need
sound, honest, Constitutional money that is not “inflated” or debased.
Why didn’t you learn that truth? May I suggest that you did not have one of
the relatively few economics professors, including yours truly, who teach
free-market economics and inexorable economic principles. Your capitalistic
self-esteem sank along with your economic knowledge!
truth it is our entrepreneur-capitalists who are the prime movers of wealth
creation. Business investment and innovation are keys to a healthy, growing
economy, not some government demand-management policy.
what can you conclude from this?
Get your capitalistic self-esteem back. Ignore the unfair, anti-capitalist
portrayal of business people in the media and TV. It’s bologna!
Whatever you do, don’t use your advertising dollars to support programming
that peddles anti-business themes. Don’t send you children, or your
donations, to colleges that peddle anti-capitalistic, left-wing ideas and
professors. Help fund speakers, seminars, and colleges that explain the case
for business, business ethics, free enterprise, and free markets within the
Finally, and most importantly, don’t seek benefits from government yourself.
Pull your hand out of the public trough. Seek profits honestly (Isaiah
48:17-18). Be a free-enterpriser. Shun subsidies, bailouts, tariff
protections and other government special privileges. They must be seen for
what they are: anti-capitalistic and welfare state programs. Oppose them.
Support political candidates that believe in free markets and honest,
Three cheers for Capitalism and the people that make it work! Help make the
words of Dr. Hayek inapplicable for all American businessmen and
businesswomen, “Sometimes I think the most difficult task is to convince
the capitalists themselves of the merit in what they do.”
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