As I have written in the past, the free market “works.” That is not to say that I think that a completely laissez faire governmental approach is best (I certainly don’t), but that “incentive” drives all progress and a free and competitive market creates the best set of right incentives. It’s this aspect of “capitalism” that has resulted in much of the significant progress in the west.

When these mechanisms are suppressed societies stagnate and their populace experiences a decline in the standard of living. It makes sense then that, as many have noted, poverty and hunger in the world are much more often the results of bad government – government that works against these principles – than driven by the environment or a lack of natural resources.

As a visual anecdote take a look at the image that’s been mentioned several times in the past week. Communist North Korea lies in stark (and dark) contrast to its much more free market neighbor to the south.

Another example is that of the Soviet famine of 1932/33, well documented thanks to the work of the late journalist Malcolm Muggeridge. As Muggeridge said,

The novelty of this particular famine, what made it so diabolical, is that it was the deliberate creation of a bureaucratic mind.

The removal of incentive by the Marxist system and the centralization of control of the flow and production of goods created nationwide food shortages as production in the richest agricultural area, the Ukraine, declined upon the completion of agricultural collectivization. As a result of hauling off all of the food to send to other parts of the country, the farms in this region were devastated; farmers simply stopped working and perfectly good fields laid empty and unworked as millions starved.

So how is it then that English professor John Daly, responding to a student that posted an advertisement for a speaker from the military wrote:

Your main poster “Communism killed 100,000,000” is not only untrue, but ignores the fact that CAPITALISM has killed many more and the evidence for that can be seen in the daily news papers?

In fact, it is quite easy to show the number (with respect to communism) to be correct, if not low. The lowest estimates for the numbers killed by Stalin alone, those that only the most incredulous would deny, are twenty million. This is the number published by the Soviets themselves under “Glasnost.” This number is known to be low, and the numbers in China under Mao were much larger.

It was of this famine ridden, collectivist minded, murderous, totalitarian regime that Che Guevara, whose picture appears as a favorite left-wing icon on everything from tee shirts to coffee mugs to bumper stickers, said

The solution to the worlds problems can be found behind the Iron Curtain.