What a delight it is to sit on my deck, soak up the California summer sunshine, watch the ocean shift from early-morning steel-grey to a glistening, late-afternoon silver-sapphire, engrossed in the reading of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics by George Reisman, Professor Emeritus of Economics.
Sun and economics. I revel in them both.
I am just finishing up Part I (a mere 100+ pages of this 1000 page magnum opus) – and already at multiple points, I’ve had to pause, draw in a luxurious deep breath of sea-side fresh air, and immerse myself in the glorious benevolence which emanates from his discussion of capitalism. Oh, he is understandably testy about and disgusted by the misanthropic premises of environmentalism, but the overall tone of his writing is one of reverence and awe for the complex, yet finely-tuned and superbly functioning mechanisms of the free market. He repeatedly highlights the incalculable benefits capitalism has bestowed on the lives of human beings: longer life-spans, better health, a cleaner, safer environment, greater well-being, an alternative to war.
Peaceful, mutually-beneficial, voluntary trade. That is the essence of capitalism. The application of individual rights (life, liberty and property) consistently applied to trade results in transactions where each party is enriched, each life enhanced. In the struggle to overcome poverty, in a life which would otherwise be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” capitalism provides the means to make allies of us all. I can’t wait to read more about the “benevolence of economic competition and economic inequality” –phrases he offers as appetizers to the deeper explanations yet to come.
Down the road, I hope I have time to summarize in this blog some my favorites from the myriad of points he makes, but for now, I just want to share the sensation of the splendid sun shining down on me – and the glorious, life-affirming warmth shining out at me in ideas and sentiments from Dr. Reisman’s book.
Economics. Who would have thought?