Capitalism Is Not Poisonous

In many circles today, capitalism is viewed as favourably as cleaning the cat’s litter box.

Make that Garfield’s litter box. After he’s eaten a spinach lasagna.

I’ll give you an example.

Recently, I came across a vociferous Facebook discussion about the views of Kevin O’Leary, the Canadian media personality of Dragon’s Den fame.

On the question of whether or not O’Leary exaggerates his pro-business persona to drum up television ratings, a gentleman named DR commented, “O’Leary has never been acting in my opinion. He stands for pure Capitalism. As poison as any extreme ideology.”


To begin with, capitalism is not an extreme ideology like socialism or fascism. It is merely the name for a system consisting of countless voluntary exchanges occurring in a market place. It is based upon the acknowledgement of your right to life, liberty and the justly-acquired fruits of your labour.

That’s it.

What’s more, voluntary exchanges are gainful in nature. After all, an exchange only takes place if both parties expect to benefit from the proposed trade.

Stated differently, capitalism is not dog-eat-dog. It is not a zero-sum game.

Also, because it only consists of voluntary exchanges, capitalism does not distribute anything. There is no politburo in charge of allocating resources, wealth included.

Capitalism is many things. It is not poisonous.

Do you remember hearing about Kyle MacDonald? He’s the Canadian blogger whose story became a worldwide sensation after he traded his way from one red paperclip to a house.┬áHe achieved this feat through a series of voluntary exchanges over the course of a year.

Well, his story is not unique.

In fact, it’s not worth a brass farthing compared to what capitalism has accomplished for all of us.



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  • About Gregory Cummings

    Gregory Cummings writes about Canadian monetary and economic policy. His writing has been featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada and the Ludwig von Mises Institute's Mises Daily publication. Read more.

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