Superhighway to Serfdom, Part 2

June 26, 2013

“The younger generation of today has grown up in a world in which, in school and press, the spirit of commercial enterprise has been represented as disreputable and the making of profit as immoral.”

                                                                                         F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

Hayek’s quote above comes from a book written in 1945, but it certainly fits today’s world.

Few “in school and press” understand how capitalism works, never mind coming to its defense.  It’s a revelation, though, that the anti-capitalist drift in school and press began so long ago.

My personal experience being preached to about the evils of capitalism dates back to my college days in the 1970s.

As a student at the University of Massachusetts, some of my professors were avowed Marxists and worked their beliefs into courses in American history and literature.

They were earnest and enthusiastic about their beliefs and had an influence on my young mind.  My English professor encouraged me to forego my career in journalism and, instead, work in a factory, where I could become a union rabble-rouser.  Having had my share of factory work for several summers during college, I fortunately decided to do what I wanted to do, instead of what my professor wanted me to do.

But like most others today, I graduated from college without having a clue about how capitalism works and with little knowledge of what it is.  I had a vague notion that it was practiced by greedy people who wanted to keep everyone’s money for themselves, because that was what my professors taught me.

That belief changed little as I pursued a career in journalism.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s, when anything to do with the environment or homelessness were big news.

Gradually, though, switching to a business beat, earning an MBA and, finally, starting my own business, I learned how capitalism works.  I wish our President, members of Congress and others whose decisions affect our lives were as fortunate.


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