Capitalism on Our Side

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Capitalism on Our Side In the twenty-first century efforts need to be made to enhance the benefits of capitalism. This system has been able to improve the lives of many Americans. Critics however, point out that the improvements have come at a high cost. Specifically, they point to the amount of damage done to the environment. Although capitalism has raised the standard of living, because of the damage done to the environment capitalism is a wasteful system. Throughout history capitalism has raised the standard of living for many individuals. As former University of Vienna economics professor Ludwig von Mises says, “Modern capitalism is essentially mass production for the needs of the masses. The buyers of the products are by and large the same people who as wage earners cooperate in their manufacturing.” For the producer, “Profits are the driving force of the market economy. The greater the profits, the better the needs of the consumers are supplied.” Entrepreneurs are able to see if the consumers approve of their work by the amount of profit that they make. Profit is able to increase the number of people that are employed, which is beneficial to both the country and the individual. Staff member of the Foundation for Economic Education, Howard Baetjer Jr. points out that, “As more and more goods are produced in greater and greater numbers, prices of just about everything drops.” The increased production is brought upon by the desire of businesses and corporations to achieve more profit. The higher wages that result from more profit are just as important as the increase in production, which allows for more employment. Higher wages and increased employment result in an improved standard of living. However, as people strive to achieve more and more profit, the environment is harmed. Respected author and environmentalist Paul Hawken states, “American industry uses as much as one hundred times more material and energy than theoretically required to deliver consumer services.” There is not an endless supply of materials and natural resources, so this type of industrial strategy only brings us closer to the day when they are exhausted. Hawken goes on to say that, “About 94 percent of the materials extracted for use in manufacturing durable products become waste before the product is even manufactured.” In order to keep the profits rolling in, businesses and individuals have been using more and more natural resources.

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