If you live in the United States, Canada, Japan, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Australia, New Zealand, or any Western European nation, then you are living better than any king, emperor, or dictator from the mid-20th century to the dawn of recorded history. Houses, cars, computers, cell phones, grocery stores, rapid transportation via airplanes, air conditioning, central heating, indoor plumbing, hot and cold running (clean!) water, and breakthrough medical procedures…all are available and affordable to everyone including the poorest of the aforementioned nations.
And much of the rest of the world is catching up. I remember in my lifetime when much of India, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa was mired in wretched poverty, famine, and starvation. While there are still many places where people do not have good housing or clean drinking water, world wide famine and starvation has pretty much been eliminated. Look at India today. The world’s most populace nation with a freely elected government today has a thriving economy, a first class high tech and space exploration industry, and massive hunger for large segments of their society is a thing of the past. Look at Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, Tanzania, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Turkey and you will see an ever expanding middle class of educated, industrious people for whom grinding generational poverty is a thing of the past.
How was this immense upward progression of the standard of living accomplished among all these areas of the world? Was it by adopting the socialist models of Venezuela, Cuba, or North Korea? Hardly.
Command and control economies never…never…deliver on their promises to “spread the wealth around and eliminate poverty.” Even communist-occupied China (the so-called “Peoples’ Republic of China”) ditched their moribund socialist economic model 30 years ago and embraced a much more capitalist model in certain sectors of their country. Through their “special economic zones” they allowed people to produce and exchange goods and services with little centralized government interference. That is how communist-occupied China became the second largest economy in the world. (Their subjects still live in a police state with no free speech or movement. )
The voluntary production and exchange of goods and services, based on private property ownership, is the economic model that allows free people to chart their own destinies, drastically reduce poverty, and raise the standard of living for the greatest amount of people.