In an April 16 post I cited a WSJ op-ed published 10/2/2006 by Johan Norberg who explained how we are indebted to free market capitalism for our current high level of health and prosperity. In today's WSJ there's a column expressing similar sentiments. Written by Todd Buchholz it castigates those who believe that the silver lining in our present economic cloud is that we're all being forced to seek a smaller, simpler life. Buchholz contends that this is not a good thing. He shows how our lives have been improved immeasurably over the past century (e.g. - life expectancy was 47 in 1900) and attributes these advances to the natural human instinct to consume, compete and take risks. Buchholz also warns that a pullback from our consumer driven society to one stressing simplicity would consign the world's poor to their status permanently.
...in the past 20 years, thanks in part to the explosion of American consumption, hundreds of millions of people around the world, now with jobs to meet U.S. import demands, have eaten three meals in one day -- for the very first time in their lives. This is a War on Poverty that we are winning! Snobs would rather downsize and turn victory into defeat.
I'll have more to say on this in a later post.