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George Reisman

President of The Jefferson School of Philosophy, Economics, and Psychology, Ph.D of economics, author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (1996)


In order for a country to act intelligently in adopting laws and institutions that bear upon economic life, it is clearly necessary that its citizens understand the principles that govern the development and functioning of the division of labor, that is, understand the principles of economics. If they do not, then it is only a question of time before that country will adopt more and more destructive laws and institutions, ultimately stopping all further economic progress and causing actual economic decline, with all that that implies about the conditions of human life.

1996 - from Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics
The truth is that economic competition is the very opposite of competition in the animal kingdom. It is not a competition in the grabbing off of scarce nature-given supplies, as it is in the animal kingdom. Rather, it is a competition in the positive creation of new and additional wealth.

Economics has powerful implications for ethics. It demonstrates exhaustively that in a division-of-labor, capitalist society, one man's gain is not another man's loss, that, indeed, it is actually other men's gain—especially in the case of the building of great fortunes. In sum, economics demonstrates that the rational self-interests of all men are harmonious. In so doing, economics raises a leading voice against the traditional ethics of altruism and self-sacrifice. It presents society - a division-of-labor, capitalist society - not as an entity over and above the individual, to which he must sacrifice his interests, but as an indispensable means within which the individual can fulfill the ultimate ends of his own personal life and happiness.

1996 - from Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics
To the extent that an economist really understands the principles governing economic life, and desires that human beings live and prosper, he can hardly fail to be an advocate of capitalism.

1996 - from Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics