Has capitalism failed?
Is it fundamentally greedy and immoral, enabling the rich to get richer? Are free markets Darwinian places where the most ruthless crush smaller competitors, where vital products and services are priced beyond the ability of many people to afford them?
Capitalism is the world's greatest economic success story. It is the most effective way to provide for the needs of people and foster the democratic and moral values of a free society. Yet the worst recession in decades has widely—and understandably—shaken people's faith in our system. Even before the current crisis, capitalism received a "bad rap" from a culture ambivalent about free markets and wealth creation. This crisis of confidence is preventing a full recognition of how we got into the mess we're in today—and why capitalism continues to be the best route to prosperity.
How Capitalism Will Save Us transcends labels such as "conservative" and "liberal" by showing how the economy really works. When free people in free markets have energy to solve problems and meet the needs and wants of others, they turn scarcity into abundance and develop the innovations that are the foremost drivers of economic growth. The freedom of democratic capitalism is, for example, what enabled Henry Ford to take a plaything of the rich—the car—and transform it into something affordable to working people.
In the capitalist system, economic growth doesn't mean more of the same—grinding out a few more widgets every year. It's about change to increase overall wealth and give more people the chance for a better life.
About the Author
STEVE FORBES is chairman, CEO, and editor in chief at Forbes Media and an internationally respected authority in the worlds of economics, finance, and corporate leadership. He campaigned twice for the Republican nomination for the presidency. His previous books include "Flat Tax Revolution, A New Birth of Freedom, " and the "New York Times "bestseller" Power Ambition Glory.
ELIZABETH AMES is founder of BOLDE Communications, which advises corporate and individual clients on communications strategies. Her work as a writer and journalist has appeared in a variety of magazines and newspapers.