In many parts of the world, national economies are in trouble. Politicians have been asking bankers—who are on the brink of financial ruin—how to fix things. The bankers respond by saying that governments need to give billions to the banks. Well isn’t that a no-brainer. If the politicians had asked bakers how to fix the economy, taxpayers would no doubt be subsidizing bakers right now, while backstopping loans for doughnut shops. Bailing out banks is not capitalism.

History has proven beyond doubt that free market capitalism is the most effective economic system there is when it comes to creating wealth. To prove it, take out a map, put your finger on the countries that are the most capitalistic and then on the countries that are wealthiest. You’ll find they’re the same.

That being said, it’s also true that wrapping one’s lips around the government nipple to extract financial favours can also bring wealth. But that’s not free market capitalism. Getting money from government while insisting it has something to do with business is crony capitalism. Crony capitalism is what happens when business success is based on friendship with government or politicians. Crony capitalism involves loan guarantees, tax breaks, and other kinds of favouritism.

An additional problem brought on by crony capitalism is it gives big business a bad name, when the truth is that big business in its better sense is a huge benefit to people. Imagine your life if big business didn’t exist:

Ranchers and farmers have access to pickup trucks, combines, animal medicines, weed control, and low cost power tools because of big business. Corporate giants like Microsoft and Intel provide the technology upon which millions of people rely every day. Big business is responsible for the oil sands and the pipelines that transport fuel to heat homes, and operate vehicles.

Aircraft giant Boeing makes safe and inexpensive air travel possible and Wal-Mart brings an abundant supply of high quality consumer goods to the masses at low prices. What’s more is that these big businesses employ millions of people to do it all.

Big business is one of the reasons food processing is safer than at any time in the history of the world. Big business provides medical technology, pharmaceuticals, wireless systems, and electrical appliances. It brings wealth into being that never previously existed and passes it around to employees, shareholders, suppliers, and even government. Corporate monopolies and government handouts should be shunned. But that caveat aside, the notion that big business is ruining our lives is absurd. The real threat to freedom is not big business, but big government.

Big business will never send armed men to your house to make you hand over money to pay for things you don’t want to buy. Governments do it all the time.

Try telling the government you refuse to contribute taxes to pay for waste-of-money bureaucrats like Alberta’s Allaudin Merali, or cover the mega-millions Ottawa shelled out to Quebec snowmobile clubs. Tell the government you refuse to financially backstop corporate bigwigs who hang around the public trough like hogs at swill time. Then after you get thrown in jail, you’ll have lots of time to reflect on whether the bigger threat to your freedom is big business or big government.

© by the author, 2012-2016. All rights reserved.

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