We live in a world divided into millions of groups drawn along lines of nationality, race, gender, tribe, geography, wealth, education, religion and on and on. Every group seeks to further its own interests, sometimes at the expense of other groups that are seen as less important or deserving. Historically, individuals have suffered when the social/political system has favored groups. Monarchism, theocracy, feudalism, mercantilism, etc all evolve in the direction of less freedom for the individual and more privilege for the favored.
The individual represents a group of one that cannot be seen as having collective characteristics. The individual is complete, autonomous and unique. We have a choice of using out intellect and energy to maximize opportunities and protections for groups or for individuals.
By contrast to favoring groups, and speaking as a non-American citizen and not as a jingoist, the characteristic that made America unique in history is it was the first country to create a haven for individuals whose personal rights were explicitly protected above those of a king, emperor, pharaoh or other ruler over the people. Consequently the American individual could conduct his life in whatever manner he wanted provided he did not impinge on the same rights of other individuals. America has been one, giant social science experiment on the effects of empowering the individual. The experiment yielded a production of property and human advancement unparalleled in all history. In 200 years Americans produced more physical wealth and innovation than was produced in the previous 6,000 years of recorded history. Such is the power of a social system of individuals acting in their own interests instead of in the interests of a ruling class and its cronies.
Of course, the late twentieth century saw an enormous erosion of individual rights and a corresponding increase in political cronyism that puts advantage and wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer.
In recent years capitalism has become a bad word in many people’s minds. A short-form for unfettered greed and systemic corruption. Those things are true. But perhaps the most damaging effect is the corruption of capitalism itself because in its corrupted form it does not serve and protect the individual.
True capitalism is based on the premise of voluntary exchange between individuals who each seek to better themselves. If you sell me a loaf of bread for a dollar it requires that I voluntarily want the bread more than my dollar and you voluntarily want the dollar more than your bread. This simple dynamic between individuals happens billions of time per day and has happened every day for tens of thousands of years. The first two cavemen who traded a spear for a scraper were engaging in capitalism and did so naturally and voluntarily without the permission or participation of an outside agency with its own agenda.
Likewise, if you and I met somewhere tomorrow we could interact with each other on the same mutually beneficial basis, each of us feeling we profited from the exchange. Thus, individuals acting through voluntary capitalism is the natural, moral and sustainable method for peaceful, profitable interaction between all people. I believe individual capitalism leads to maximum human happiness and freedom and provides, to the furthest extent possible, the ability to live your life on your terms without impinging on others right to the same.
I named this blog IndividualCapitalism.com because I would like to draw together like-minded people. I hope you will read some of the posts on this site and subscribe to my mailing list.