And The Most Capitalistic Country on Earth IS…. (not America)

by Darwin on April 6, 2011

The Economist had a nice chart out today with the poll results for countries most in favor of capitalism.  It would have been interesting to contrast these results from the same poll 20 years ago, but alas, the data is from 2010 only.  Take a look, digest, and then my thoughts below.

Germany – It doesn’t surprise me at all that Germany ranks high on the list.  While they are “old Europe”, Germans (IMHO) tend to “get it” and not rely on the government nearly as much as other old Europe member states like France. Germany is pretty much calling all the shots in the EU on bailouts for other member states and they have the strongest economy.  They’re pretty much pulling everyone else’s weight.

Brazil? Not a surprise – they’ve been enjoying the spoils of decimating their rain forests and depleting their natural resources at a rate the world has never been witness to.  They are literally changing the earth’s ecosystem virtually overnight.  They’re rolling in cash and loving it.  I don’t think they’ll be lovin’ it in a few decades but right now it’s working for them.

China – After just getting a taste of true capitalism over the past several years, the Chinese view it as an alternative to the way their parents lived.  The internet and global outsourcing have opened up new riches to millions of would-be peasants and farmers.   Even though the government censors quite a bit, they don’t necessarily inhibit capitalism.  They don’t have to be mutually exclusive apparently.

Italy – This was a bit of a surprise for a country where working long and hard is sneered at.  Enjoying life over money, LOTS of time off of work, a VERY slow and long dinner and looking down on America – the prior poster-child for capitalism was the norm when I was in Italy.  This poll has proven me wrong!

The US – I’m not shocked we’re not at the top of the list.  A decade ago we would have been.  But the media and the administration have conditioned the average American to associate the financial/housing crash and Wall Street scandals with “capitalism”.  No mention of why we enjoy high standards of living and virtually everyone on Earth wants to live here.  There’s a growing disdain for capitalism. Hollywood makes movies questioning its place in America.  I think most Americans that aren’t in favor of capitalism – by its definition – don’t really understand what it means.  I can’t think of any other rational explanation.

Source: The Economist


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ravi Gupta April 7, 2011 at 9:53 am

This is a great article with one sad list. I remember talking to one of my friends in economics and she posed the question “what happens if we just stop growing?”. Nowadays I wonder what is wrong with staying stagnant.

-Ravi Gupta


retirebyforty April 8, 2011 at 12:56 am

China has a long capitalist tradition. It was just the short time since the communist party took over until 1990s that capitalism was put on ice. Germany is the leader in Europe so I guess I’m not surprised they’re on top.


Invest It Wisely April 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I guess a lot of people don’t understand that to be against the idea of a free market means that you are actually against people freely trading and exchanging with one another, and you are against the idea that people have different values and preferences. It’s only when you let all people’s preferences drive the economy instead of only a few people at the top that happen to comprise the planning boards do you get the division of labour, exchange, and price system that fulfills people’s wants.

The free market offends some people’s sensibilities because they don’t agree with the values expressed by other people in terms of their preferences, voted by their purchasing power. They would rather see their vision imposed upon everyone else. The truest democracy in the world is the democracy of the customer’s ability to vote with their dollar, so long as that freedom is protected by adequate laws and force against fraudsters and those that would create chaos and try to destroy society for their own personal gain.

I wonder about Russia; those people have been suffering through one hardship after another, and I don’t know how people could still be in favour of central planning (because if you’re against the free market, then what do you support?) after the horrors of the first 50 years of the 20th century, but I can imagine why people would be skeptical of the “free market” with the way that resources were privatized in that country following the breakdown of the USSR. There’s definitely something unfair about taking resources that in theory belonged to everyone and handing it over to a small group of people for firesale prices.


King Midas April 10, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Well Said!


Financial Samurai April 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

The Chinese are going to kill it. They are the most capitalistic socialist country in the World! Glad their standard of living continues to improve.


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