Dalrymple on Capitalism and the Poor

February 2, 2012

I’ve often lamented the inability of conservatives and Republicans to articulate how capitalism is really the best system to help lift the poor out of poverty. Liberals rightly raise the issue of the poor, but their solutions seem to keep poor entrapped. Conservatives often rightly decry these programs but don’t often articulately explain why capitalism and free markets (combined with robust social institutions) are the best vehicle (in an imperfect, fallen world) to more permanently raise the poor from poverty.

My friend Timothy Dalrymple is a rare exception. A gifted wordsmith, he’s an eloquent defender of capitalism. In an article about Mitt Romney’s recent gaffe, he says:

But Mitt, like Republicans in general, needs to reclaim the language of compassion for the poor.  It’s not compassionate to leave the very poor tangled up in our social safety nets.  It’s not compassionate to promote dependency.  What is compassionate — what actually serves the interest of the very poor, as well as everyone else — is unleashing economic growth that brings greater opportunity, better values and better compensation for everyone.  The very poor are not doing fine.  They’re drowning in the unintended consequences of liberals’ good intentions — their families are falling apart, their spirits and creativity are languishing, and the economic virtues are withering from their communities because of the perverse mis-incentives of government largesse.

The entire article is worth reading: Philosophical Fragments » Mitt’s “Very Poor” Phrasing.