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Richards: Are Free Markets Social Darwinism?

Jay W. Richards, Ph.D., IFWE Visiting Scholar

Is free enterprise “thinly veiled Social Darwinism,” as President Obama suggested in response to a Congressional budget proposal by Representative Paul Ryan?

IFWE Visiting Scholar Jay W. Richards, Ph.D. answers that question in an op-ed on National Review Online:

Christians and all decent people, in contrast [to Social Darwinists], believe we should care for the poor, the widows, the orphans, the stranger — those who have difficulty providing for themselves. In fact, the Bible teaches this should be an essential concern. So should we oppose free-market competition? Pope Pius XI seemed to many to suggest that when he wrote, ‘Free competition, though justified and right within limits, cannot be an adequate controlling principle in economic affairs.’


However, leading advocates of economic freedom from Adam Smith, F. A. Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises, to Julian Simon and George Gilder, do not commend Social Darwinism, but liberty, human rights, limited government, private property, the coordinating effects of prices, the win-win nature of free exchange, and the creative capacities of entrepreneurs.


Read the full article.


Read more IFWE articles co-authored by Jay Richards and Anne Bradley, Ph.D., IFWE’s VP of Economic Initiatives, on on income inequality and in The Washington Times on self-interest vs. greed.


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