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Capitalism Fixed My Car

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发表于 8-15-2018 16:06:25 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Stephen Miller, Capitalism Fixed My Car; All kinds of goods are improved by 'trade-tested betterment.' Wall Street Journal, Aug 14, 2018 (opinion)
https://www.wsj.com/articles/capitalism-fixed-my-car-1534201677
http://board.moparts.org/ubbthre ... cars-over-time.html

Quote:

"Forty years ago * * * When I drove, I would listen carefully to the car's many sounds, worried that something was about to go wrong.  This anxiety was reasonable. My first car, purchased in the early 1960s, had an unusual problem: The accelerator pedal sometimes stuck to the floor. I would have to bend down to get it unstuck while keeping one eye on the road. A few years later I bought a new car, but before long its fuel pump began to clog, and the engine would suddenly die. My next car had a very exposed gas tank that, in the event of a rear-end collision, could cause a fiery explosion. The car after that had a bad distributor that caused the engine to sputter in rainy weather. I would have to stop every 50 miles and wipe the distributor dry.

"The cars of the 1950s through 1970s were prone to problems. They had a tendency to overheat when stuck in traffic on hot summer days, and their tires would often go flat.

"Today cars are much more reliable. I can't remember the last time I called roadside assistance. 'Getting 100,000 miles out of a car in the 1970s was cause for celebration,' economist Steven Horwitz wrote in a 2015 paper. 'Not getting 100,000 miles out of a car today is cause to think you bought a lemon.'

"The improvement came because of what Deirdre McCloskey, author of 'Bourgeois Equality,' calls 'trade-tested betterment.' In countries with strong market economies, companies that develop better products and services usually reap financial rewards -- as long as the government doesn't interfere to protect the existing industry leaders.  

"Some people wants the government to protect jobs threatened by new technologies, but that's an old mistake. 'The advent of cars did not produce mass unemployment because of insufficient demand for the output of blacksmiths and horse traders.' Ms McCloskey wrote.

"When the government tries to protect jobs, it impedes economic growth and lowers the standard of living for everyone.

Note:
(a)
(i) The article is locked behind paywall. There is no need to read the rest.
(ii) At the end of this WSJ article is an introduction: "Mr Miller is author of 'Walking New York; Reflections of American writers from Walt Whitman to Teju Cole. [Fordham University Press, 2016.]"
(b) The second half (including quotation of Steven Horwitz) of this article is from
Deirdre M McCloskey, How Piketty Misses the Point. Cato Policy Report, July/August 2015.
https://www.cato.org/policy-repo ... iketty-misses-point

, except that professor McCloskey did not mention the year (2015) of Steven Horwitz's work.
(c) The article cites
(i) Steven Horwitz, Inequality, Mobility, and Being Poor in America. Social Philosophy and Policy, 31: 70-91 (2015).
(ii) Deirdre McCloskey, Bourgeois Equality; How ideas, not capital or institutions, enriched the world. University of Chicago Press, 2016.
(d) I personally do not attributes the progress to capitalism alone. Modern humanity lives better than a king 1 or 2 millennia ago.
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