June 7, 2021

Besides “capitalism,” the two concepts perhaps most reviled by left-leaning intellectuals are “neoliberalism” and “supply-side economics.” These intellectuals harbor an odd antagonism, because each concept is associated with greater freedom, prosperity, and security. As such, one might suspect that the antagonists yearn for something other than these human values.

But what’s not to like about capitalism? It’s the social system that codifies individual rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness, the system in which property is owned and controlled privately. Capitalism was made possible by the Enlightenment, by the 18th century respect for reason in all fields – in science, politics, economics, the arts. In just a couple of centuries it revolutionized and modernized our material world; for the nations that embraced it, capitalism improved their health, increased their wealth, and extended their lifespans.

We no longer have a pure capitalist system, of course. The ideal form was best practiced in America between the Civil War and WWI. But whenever social systems have been closer to capitalism’s pure form (e.g., Hong Kong), they have performed wonders; systems farthest from capitalism, we all know (or should) have produced horrors.

Why does capitalism perform wonders? Why is it so efficient, practical, productive, and life-enhancing? Because it is the optimal habitat for humanity. It provides individuals the freedom to think, act, and pursue their self-interest. Some of capitalism’s foes are nihilists, of course, eager to terminate (not merely “redistribute”) its opulence; but many more foes disdain its ethical code of rational egoism, a disdain felt alike by secular socialists and religious conservatives (who otherwise pose as rivals). Many also hate inequalities in income, wealth, and social status, even though in freer nations that mostly reflects the diversity of developed talents and life choices.

What about “neoliberalism?” It means “new liberty” and refers to the post-WWII spread of pro-capitalist ideas from the likes of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Robert Nozick, James Buchanan, and others. Liberty had not been as defended since before WWI.

The nearby exhibit – “A Timeline of Neoliberalism” – depicts key works in moral theory, politics, and economics that appeared over five decades and inspired party platforms, campaigns, and elections. The successful, multi-year governance of political leaders like Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Brian Mulroney would not have been possible without the fuel of neoliberal ideas. Nor would there have been pressure placed on the Soviet Union and its East European colonies; when they too relented, it could be said without hyperbole (as Thatcher put it) that neoliberals “won the Cold War without firing a single shot.” Even successors to the neoliberals in rival parties dared not change policy much. In the 1990s Bill Clinton first beat the Reagan successor (GHW Bush) who had pledged “no new taxes” (before raising them), then, before a Republican-controlled Congress, declared “the era of big government is over.” Soon thereafter, Clinton signed a law to “end welfare as we know it.” In Britain in 1995, Labor Party leader Tony Blair demanded a recission of the nationalization plank (in place since 1918) and with other neoliberal acts served as Prime Minister (1997-2007).

Amid the rise of neoliberalism and the fall of the U.S.S.R., Marxism and Keynesianism were in disrepute and retreat. Ideologues and control freaks in each camp detested the spread of neoliberalism; still today they use the term as an epithet, preferring a return to the old despotism.

What about “supply-side economics?” It was developed primarily by economists Robert Mundell (Nobel prize winner, 1999) and Arthur Laffer (famous for the Laffer curve, which showed the disincentive effects of high marginal tax rates and called for material cuts). Their work was popularized by Jude Wanniski (The Way the World Works, 1978) and Bob Bartley (in charge of the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, 1972-2002). Supply-side doctrines were applied with great success by practitioners including Congressman Jack Kemp, Treasury economists Paul Craig Roberts (The Supply-Side Revolution, 1984) and Bruce Bartlett – and, of course, America’s 40th President – in the form of “Reaganomics.” It is true (and sad) that few supply-siders were willing to shrink the morally suspect welfare state, but neither were their critics (who demanded a still larger version). Besides, their failure to get shrinkage does not negate their valid principles, one of which is that the real burden on the economy is government spending, not how it is financed.

Just as many intellectuals and politicians despised neoliberalism, they despised supply-side economics, deriding it as “voodoo economics” and “trickle-down economics.” Even Reagan budget director David Stockman, a brief convert, tried to appease critics by claiming it was a “trojan horse” to provide “giveaways to the rich.” Despite foes’ smears, supply-side economics was neither untrue nor untried; it was a healthy revival of the sound doctrines and policies explicated by Jean-Baptiste Say (1767-1832), Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), and Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950). The trio’s pro-capitalist ideas and policies were dismissed and distorted (albeit never refuted) under the onslaught of Marxian-Keynesian dogmas during the brutal first half of the 20th century.

The essence of supply-side economics is not, as critics claim, that “tax cuts will balance the budget.” It’s not even a minor principle but, rather, a “straw man” argument which no supply-sider ever advanced. Budget balance (or imbalance) is determined as much by public spending as by tax revenues; if the former is excessive, no amount of tax reform can ensure budget balance. Moreover, the uniqueness of the supply-side approach to taxation is to focus on tax rates and how they affect incentives to produce, earn income, save, and invest. Unlike most other models, this one makes the reasonable assumption that people are self-interested, don’t pay taxes out of duty, and dislike paying their hard-earned income to corrupt and fiscally profligate governments.

Supply-side fiscal theory contends that if tax rates are too high (confiscatory, punitive) they can depress the tax base and thus tax revenues. If so, a cut in rates can increase output and income as well as the tax base (hence tax revenues). This is common sense, basic economics; it is price theory (microeconomics) applied to the economy (macroeconomics) and to public finance. It is the essence of the Laffer curve, which has been verified empirically in dozens of cases worldwide since the 1970s. It is precisely the much-reviled supply-side revolution that fueled the case for material cuts in top marginal tax rates in major nations since the early 1980s (Figure One) – and those cuts also, predictably, fueled a revival in economic growth rates in those nations.

Another major myth about supply-side economics is that it pertains only to taxes or to the maximization of government revenues. As did Say, Bastiat, and Schumpeter, supply-siders today rightly extoll entrepreneurship, profit-seeking, and prosperity. They know that wealth creation requires the rule of law, the protection of all aspects of private property rights, sound (gold-based) money, low and flat tax (and tariff) rates, free trade, efficient infrastructure, and national defense. For supply-siders, the real burden on any economy is government spending, not how it’s funded. Unlike demand-siders (whether Keynesian or Monetarist), they stress supply, production, and wealth creation; they recognize that supply is the only source of real demand, that demand is not akin to consumption (the using up of wealth), that government spending per se creates neither supply nor demand, that aggregate supply and aggregate demand are never “out of balance” or in need of a government corrective, since they’re the same thing viewed from different angles.  

Figures One and Two illustrate the dramatic decline on top marginal tax rates resulting from the supply-side revolution of the 1980s and 1990s. The U.S. federal government’s top marginal tax rate on personal income (Figure One) was cut from 70% in 1980 to 50% by 1983, then further to a low of 28% in 1986 (a rate that lasted for only five years, until the Bush tax hikes). Notice how tax rates likewise were cut in Britain, Germany, France, and Japan. This was a global revolution. Yet rates have been raised again in the opening decades of this century. The top U.S. rate is now 40%.

Top corporate tax rates also were cut dramatically due to the supply-side revolution (Figure Two). In 1984 top marginal rates averaged 42% in OECD nations; by 1999 the average was 32%; today it is 22%. Germany’s top rate was 55% in 1980; by 1999 it was 40%; today it is 14%. The top U.S. rate for large “C-corporations” was cut from 46% in 1980 to 35% in 1986 and remained there, above the OECD average, until the Trump rate cut (to 21%) beginning in late 2017. In the U.S., the top tax rate for smaller, pass-through business entities (“S-corporations”) was equivalent to the top personal rate, which was cut from 70% in 1980 to 28% in 1986; this tax-rate differential inspired faster growth in small-to-midsize businesses in the U.S. relative to larger firms.

A crucial aspect of the supply-side revolution was pro-capitalism and anti-cronyism. A main goal was to simplify the tax code, with fewer brackets and fewer special exemptions, deductions, and credits. Private sector activity would shift from tax avoidance to wealth creation. The idea was to lower tax rates while widening and increasing the tax base (i.e., taxable income). That meant a much lower negative impact on total tax revenues. Moreover, less onerous tax rates and fewer tax favors radically reduced the motivation to lobby for special tax breaks (i.e., far less cronyism).

The supply-side revolution – being pro-capitalist, pro-entrepreneur, pro-profit, pro-growth, and pro-prosperity – understandably has faced many counterrevolutionaries in the early decades of this century. Top marginal tax rates on personal income have been increased, although not back to pre-1980 confiscatory levels; pressure is building to further raise top rates, and politicians who endorse the idea have been gaining traction and getting elected. The reactionaries also have been busy reintroducing tax favoritism, eliciting more lobbying, campaign contributions, and cronyism.

We have heard a lot in recent decades about capitalism allegedly degenerating into “cronyism” or “plutocracy” (rule by the rich). But cronyism has nothing to do with capitalism. The only way to get money out of politics is to get politics out of money making. That is a uniquely supply-side prescription, but it is the last thing in the world any Marxist, Keynesian, or welfare-state fan wishes to see. It is ludicrous when foes of supply-side policy claim that it “favors the rich,” for these foes are the same people who, by seeking to punish the rich, insidiously seek their favors.

Tax policy aside, there has also been a boom in government spending this century, which supply-siders interpret as a burden (not a “stimulus”) for the economy. There also has been greater regulation, stemming from 9/11 (PATRIOT ACT), the accounting scandals of the early 2000s (Sarbanes-Oxley Act), the financial crises of 2008-09 (the Dodd-Frank Act), and the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020-21. Finally, there have been sharp policy turns away from free trade.

Back in 2012, fearful of a Romney-Ryan victory and a mere preservation of supply-side policies, two analysts at the left-leaning Center for American Progress issued a report titled “The Failure of Supply-Side Economics.” They included a half dozen graphs allegedly showing that “supply-side doesn’t work.” They showed no such thing. They cherry-picked data, conveniently altered time periods, and posited irrelevancies. Their shoddy work was yet another in a long train of similarly bogus “studies” that have appeared since the beginning of Reaganomics in the early 1980s.

Let us review the relevant empirics, both fully and fairly. Table One summarizes and contrasts U.S. economic-financial performance in 1980-2000 versus 2000-2020. Whereas the last two decades of the 20th century were animated by globalism and supply-side neoliberalism, the first two decades of the 21st century have been animated by nationalism and demand-side neofascism.

The extent of the differential performance should be astonishing to those unaware of the facts but honest enough to learn them. Tragically, America has shifted from prosperity to austerity in a single generation. Real GDP growth was 3.4% per annum in 1980-2000, twice the rate of 2000-2020. Industrial production over the last two decades has been a mere 1/6th of the previous annual rate. Real private fixed investment expanded by 4.8% per annum in 1980-2000, more than double the rate since then. Growth in civilian employment this century has been a mere quarter of what it was in 1980-2000.

What about the dollar and money? The dollar appreciated at a compounded annual rate of 1.1% in 1980-2000 but depreciated at that same rate in 2000-2020. In real terms (ounces of gold), the dollar appreciated 3.9% per annum in 1980-2000 but has been devalued 9.2% per annum since then. The money supply has increased 15% per annum so far this century, triple its rate of increase in 1980-2000. To what end? For what purpose? Obviously, the production of money isn’t the production of real wealth. As more money has been issued, more has been demanded (hoarded). That hardly depicts a robust, future-oriented, risk-taking, entrepreneurial economy.

What about real gains on financial assets? The S&P 500 returned 11.7% per annum in the supply-side decades of 1980-2000, more than double what it has delivered since then (5.3% per annum). U.S. T-Bonds returned 8.1% per annum in 1980-2000, likewise double their return since (3.6% per annum). Prices of key commodities like crude oil, gold, and food declined in 1980-2000, but have since increased. With robust growth in output and jobs in 1980-2000 came less costly living.

What about U.S. public finances? The supply-side policy mix is ridiculed most, perhaps, for its alleged fiscal profligacy. But Table One reveals how federal spending has increased far more in 2000-2020 (6.9% per annum) than it did amid supply-side dominance in 1980-2000 (5.6% per annum). Recent profligacy hasn’t done very much to “stimulate” the economy, has it? But surely federal tax revenues stagnated amid all the tax cutting of 1980-2000? No, they grew by 7.0% per annum, more than twice their growth rate so far this century. Whereas in 1980-2000 revenue growth outpaced spending growth, the reverse has occurred in 2000-2020, with spending growth outpacing revenue growth. The result: a relatively faster rise in the national debt this century. The turn of the last century recorded four straight years (1998-2001) of budget surpluses. So much for fiscally “reckless” supply-side policies. The U.S has registered not a single surplus since 2001.

The near-phobic disdain for supply-side economics and neoliberalism this century is part of a new wave of anti-capitalist sentiment. We have seen this movie before. It is a horror film. The true friends of rationality, liberty, and prosperity should wake up, stand proudly, and contend boldly.


Richard M. Salsman Ph.D.
About the author:
Richard M. Salsman Ph.D.

Dr. Richard M. Salsman is a professor of political economy at Duke University, founder and president of InterMarket Forecasting, Inc., a senior fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research, and senior scholar at The Atlas Society. In the 1980s and 1990s he was a banker at the Bank of New York and Citibank and an economist at Wainwright Economics, Inc. Dr. Salsman has authored five books: Breaking the Banks: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions (1990), The Collapse of Deposit Insurance and the Case for Abolition (1993), Gold and Liberty (1995), The Political Economy of Public Debt: Three Centuries of Theory and Evidence (2017), and Where Have all the Capitalists Gone?: Essays in Moral Political Economy (2021). He is also author of a dozen chapters and scores of articles. His work has appeared in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, Reason Papers, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Sun, Forbes, the Economist, the Financial Post, the Intellectual Activist, and The Objective Standard. He speaks frequently before pro-liberty student groups, including Students for Liberty (SFL), Young Americans for Liberty(YAL), Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), and the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).

1981年にボウディン大学で法学と経済学の学士号を、1988年にニューヨーク大学で経済学の修士号を、2012年にデューク大学で政治経済学の博士号を取得しています。個人ウェブサイトはhttps://richardsalsman.com/ にある。

アトラス・ソサエティでは、サルスマン博士が毎月モラル&マーケットウェビナーを開催し、倫理、政治、経済、市場の交わりを探っています。また、毎月私たちのインスタグラムで 見られる、サルスマン氏のインスタグラム・テイクオーバーHEREからの抜粋も見ることができます





この90分のオーディオ・インタビューでは、聴衆の質疑応答も交えながら、サルスマン博士が、1) 国家の利己主義が米国の外交政策を導くべき(しかしそうではない)理由、2) NATOの数十年にわたるロシア国境への東方拡大(ウクライナを追加する可能性も示唆)。2)NATOの数十年にわたるロシア国境への東方拡大(そしてウクライナへの拡大も示唆)が、ロシア・ウクライナ紛争と現在の戦争に拍車をかけている理由です。3) レーガン-ブッシュがいかに英雄的に(そして平和的に)冷戦に勝利したか、4) 今世紀の民主党の大統領(クリントン、オバマ、バイデン)がいかに/なぜ冷戦後の平和を育もうとせず、NATOを押し付け、ロシアに対して不当に好戦的であり、米国の国力と安全を損なってきたか。ウクライナはなぜ不自由で腐敗しており、米国の真の同盟国(あるいはNATO加盟国)ではなく、米国の国家安全保障とは無関係であり、いかなる種類の米国公式支援にも値しないのか、6)MMIC(軍事・メディア・産業複合体)が大きく推進する、今日の超党派でほぼ均質な拡大戦争への支持が、なぜ無謀で不吉であるか。

ウクライナ事実はプーチンを許さないが、NATOを非難 する--『資本主義スタンダード』2022年3月14日号







先週、トランプに触発された右翼が連邦議会議事堂を襲撃した余波で、それぞれの「側」は、他方を偽善だと、「説いたことを実践しない」、「話を歩まない」と、当然のことながら非難した。昨年の夏、左翼はポートランド、シアトル、ミネアポリスなどでの自分たちの暴力を(「平和的抗議」として)正当化しようとしたが、今は国会議事堂での右翼の暴力を糾弾している。悪徳である偽善が、なぜ今、これほどまでに偏在しているのだろうか。 その反対は誠実さという美徳である。この美徳は、何十年もの間、大学が哲学的なプラグマティズムを教え込んできたからである。この教義は、「実用性」に助言するのではなく、固定した有効な原則は不可能(したがって処分可能)、意見は操作可能であると主張することによってそれを弱体化する。プラグマティストにとって、「知覚は現実」であり、「現実は交渉可能」である。 現実の代わりに「仮想現実」、正義の代わりに「社会正義」を好む。彼らは、偽物とインチキをすべて体現している。行動指針として残るのは、日和見主義、便宜主義、「急進派のためのルール」、議論に勝つため、大義を進めるため、法律を制定するため、少なくとも今のところ(...それが機能しなくなるまで)「機能する」ものだけである。今日の超党派の暴力を説明するものは何か?理性(と客観性)の欠如である。理性がなくなれば、説得も平和的な集会や抗議もなくなります。残るのは感情論、そして暴力である。




ジャン=バティスト・セイ(1767-1832)は、憲法で制限された国家を原則的に擁護し、同時代の古典的自由主義者の多くよりも、さらに一貫してそうであった。経済学の第一原理である「セイの法則」で最も知られている彼は、資本主義という言葉が(反対派によって1850年代に)作られる何十年も前から、最も一貫した強力な提唱者の一人と見なされるべきでしょう。 私はこの数十年間、政治経済をかなり研究してきたが、セイの『政治経済学論』(1803年)は、同時代の著作だけでなく、アダム・スミスの『国富論』(1776年)やルートヴィヒ・フォン・ミーゼスの『人間行動 論』などを凌ぐ、この分野で出版された最高の著作だと考えている。経済学論考 』(1949年)などを凌ぐ、この分野での最高傑作である。

財政金融の「刺激」は鬱陶しい--The Hill, May 26, 2020





政府」という言葉を聞くと、私たちの多くは政治、つまり国家、政権、首都、機関、官僚機構、行政、政治家を思い浮かべます。私たちは彼らを「役人」と呼び、ユニークで高貴な、そして権威ある地位を有していると思い込んでいます。 しかし、それは私たちの生活における統治の1つのタイプに過ぎず、3つのタイプは、公的統治、私的統治、個人的統治です。それぞれを支配圏として考えるのがベストだが、権利と自由の保持を最適化するためには、3つのバランスが必要である。最近の不吉な傾向は、公的(政治的)ガバナンスが個人的ガバナンスと私的ガバナンスの領域を持続的に侵犯していることである。


今日の政治家は、食料、住宅、医療、仕事、育児、よりクリーンで安全な環境、交通、学校教育、光熱費、そして大学まで、多くのものを「無料」あるいは公的な補助を受けるべきだと声高に、尊大に主張しています。なぜそのような主張が有効なのか、誰も問わない。 盲目的に信じたり、単なる直感(フィーリング)で肯定したりするのだろうか。科学的とは思えない。 すべての重要な主張は、論理と証拠のテストに合格する必要があるのではないでしょうか?なぜ無料配布のクレームは、多くの人にとって「良い響き」なのか? 実は、それらは意地悪で、冷酷でさえあり、非自由主義的で、それゆえ根本的に非人道的だからです。自由で資本主義的な憲政システムにおいては、法の下の平等な正義があるべきであり、差別的な法的扱いはあってはならない。 すべての個人(または団体)は自由に選択し、行動することができなければなりません。その際、たかりや略奪に頼るべきではありません。 政治運動や政策決定におけるフリービー・アプローチは、図々しくもムーチングに迎合し、政府の規模、範囲、力を拡大することによって、略奪を制度化するものでもあります。








理性、合理的自己利益、個人主義、資本主義、アメリカニズムを謳い、ベストセラーとなった小説家・哲学者のアイン・ランド(1905-1982)の『Atlas Shrugged』(1957)が出版されてから今日で60周年になります。これほど古い本で、ハードカバーでも売れ続けている本はほとんどなく、多くの投資家やCEOがそのテーマと洞察を長く賞賛している。1990年代に米国議会図書館とブック・オブ・ザ・マンス・クラブが行った調査では、回答者は「アトラス・シュラッグド」を「自分の人生に大きな変化をもたらした本」として、聖書に次いで2番目に挙げている。 社会主義者がランドを拒絶するのは、資本主義が搾取的で崩壊しやすいという彼らの主張を否定しているからであり、保守派がランドを警戒するのは、資本主義が宗教を頼りにしていることを否定しているからであることは、理解できる。彼女の大きな貢献は、資本主義が経済的に生産的なシステムであるだけでなく、道徳的に公正なシステムであることを示したことです。 資本主義は、正直で、誠実で、自立していて、生産性の高い人々に報いるものであり、その代わりに人間以下の存在を選ぶ人々を疎外し、悪意ある者や非人道的な者を罰するものである。資本主義派、社会主義派、あるいは両者に無関心な人であろうと、本書は一読の価値がある--『泉源』(1943年)、『利己主義の美徳』(1943年)など、彼女の他の著作も同様である。エゴイズムの新しい概念』(1964年)、『資本主義。未知の理想』(1966年)。



不平等論争:何を稼ぐかを考えなければ無意味--Forbes, February 1, 2012

この困難な時代の真に重要な問題、すなわち「政府の適切な大きさと範囲は何か」(答え:小さい)、「資本主義を増やすべきか、それとも企業主義を増やすべきか」(答え:大きい)を議論する代わりに、私たちは、この問題を解決することができる。(とか、「資本主義とコーポラティズムのどちらを重視すべきか?(政治メディアは、代わりに「不平等」の弊害を論じています。最近、彼らの恥知らずな妬みが横行しているが、不平等に焦点を当てることは、保守派にとっても左翼にとっても都合がいい。 オバマ氏は、「公正」という誤った理論を受け入れている。それは、年配のアメリカ人が「砂漠」として認識するかもしれない、常識的で功利的な正義の概念を否定するものである。正しくは、善良で生産的な行動に対して報酬を与える「分配的正義」と、悪や破壊的な行動に対して罰を与える「応報的正義」がある。


資本主義は人類史上最高の社会経済システムである。道徳的であるのは、合理性と利己心、つまり「啓蒙された欲」を擁し、それを育むからである。それは、物質的・経済的な豊かさだけでなく、芸術やエンターテインメントに見られるような美的価値も生み出します。しかし、資本主義とはいったい何なのでしょうか?資本主義とは一体何なのだろうか。また、資本主義とは何なのだろうか。 資本主義の最大の知的支持者であるアイン・ランド(1905-1982)は、かつて資本主義を "財産権を含む個人の権利の承認に基づく社会システムであり、すべての財産は個人所有である "と定義しました。この真の権利(自分の望むものを得るために他人に強制する「権利」ではない)の承認は、すべてにおいて重要であり、それは独特の道徳的基盤を持っています。実際、資本主義は、権利、自由、礼節、平和、そして犠牲を伴わない繁栄のシステムであり、他人の犠牲の上に資本家を不当に優遇する政府のシステムではないのです。資本主義とは、権利、自由、平和、犠牲を伴わない繁栄のシステムであり、資本家を不当に優遇し、他者を犠牲にするような政府のシステムではない。公平な法的競争条件を提供し、目立たないように審判を務める役人がいる(独断でルールを作ったり、スコアを変えたりしない)。確かに、資本主義には、野心、才能、収入、富などの不平等がつきものですが、それは、個人(および企業)の本当の姿がそうだからです。


多くの人が、なぜワシントンでは、過剰な支出、財政赤字、負債を解決するための政策について、いつまでも膠着状態にあるのか疑問に思っています。問題の根源は「偏向政治」であり、「過激派」が議論を支配し、超党派の結束だけがもたらすことのできる解決策を排除していると言われます。 実際には、多くの問題で「両陣営」は完全に合意している。 つまり、特に道徳的に「正しいことをする」ことの意味について、両者の意見が一致しているため、あまり変化がないのです。あまり報道されていませんが、政治的に左派であれ右派であれ、民主党や共和党の多くはかなり宗教的であり、したがって現代の福祉国家を支持する傾向にあります。すべての政治家がそう強く思っているわけではないにしても、有権者はそう思っているのではないかと(当然ながら)疑っている。したがって、政府支出を抑制しようとするちょっとした提案でさえ、その提案者は冷淡で、無情で、無慈悲で、非キリスト教的だと非難されるのである。

資本家たちはどこへ行ったのか? -- フォーブス』2010年12月5日号