More messages crammed into two minutes than any other video!

| March 17 2013
Christopher Cook

Another installment!

Preamble:

Lovers of liberty and defenders of free enterprise need to make the MORAL case for capitalism. Capitalism is not just numbers in a ledger or stats about what system is more efficient. It truly makes human lives better. It not only brings greater prosperity; it brings greater happiness—not through material things, but through earning one’s success.

That was the subject of the American Enterprise Institute’s video contest last year, and the entry below deserves special mention! Some of the winners of the contest were more touching, and brought a tear to the eye or a tightening of the throat. The video below doesn’t do that, but it does manage to cram a lot of lessons into its two-minute allotment. Most of the other videos send a message or two—mostly about earned success and the more case for capitalism, naturally, since that’s what the content was about. But this video manages to squeeze in . . .

  • A brief, tacit assault on the notion—popularized by left-wing economic theory over the last two centuries—called the “fixed pie fallacy.” Basically, it’s the zero-sum-game outlook on economics, namely that one person can only grow wealthier if someone else is simultaneously growing poorer, as if there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world for which everyone is competing. The fact that our GDP has grown by 3000 percent over the last 60 years . . . or that we’re not still using the same 20 pretty seashells that a group of cavemen first started using as currency should tell you all you need to know about this fallacy. And yet, we still have to argue with people who believe it as gospel.
  • A direct assault on the difference between feeling entitled to something and working for it.
  • A slam on laziness and the welfare system
  • The obvious point about the rewards that come from working for what you want.
  • A point that is, or ought to be, obvious—namely that generating wealth for oneself in turn creates opportunities for others
  • A rip on the business-crushing nature of taxation and excessive burdens placed on business by government. (The addition of the mech noise from “Falling Skies” when the big brother comes in to take the pie—brilliant!)
  • A further point about how the loss of one business doesn’t just impact the owners, it impacts their employees, customers, and many others in the community.
  • A devastating point—perpetually lost on government functionaries and the people who love them—that higher taxation reduces productivity which can (and usually does) result in lower revenues for the government.
  • The all-important, but all too often forgotten message of capitalism: if everybody wins, everybody wins. (The fact that the big brother will do better working with his siblings rather than eating of their substance.)
  • The idea that free enterprise makes people better and stronger. (First tacitly in the comment about the big brother needing exercise, and then explicitly later, the creators of this brilliant video drive home that truism. By participating in capitalism, the kids are getting off the couch and away from video games, and making themselves better at the same time that they are earning money. And they are no longer dependent on their mom’s pie-baking welfare program!)
  • A shout-out  to the all-important notion that private enterprise creates wealth some of which is then available for use for charitable purposes.
  • The salient mention of “peace” at the end. As Milton Friedman points out in “Free to Choose,” the period from Waterloo to the First World War was characterized by relative freedom, limited government, and free trade, and it was one of the most war-free eras in history. (The notable exception of the Civil War in the U.S. helps make the point, since that war was fought in large measure due to a deviation from freedom.)
  • And, of course,the final message: free enterprise brings happiness.
For pure units of message delivered per unit time, this is the most potent video I have ever seen. A PhD thesis could be based around it. Courtney Balaker, whoever you are . . . kudos!
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