The most progressive and profitable economic system in world history is based on human behavior and lies behind the ancient wisdom of the scriptures. It was first expressed best by the Classical Economists who emerged in the Enlightenment(1650-1800). That “Age of Reason” applied the new scientific reasoning to the study of Human Nature and found universal truths as reliable as the Laws in Nature only recently explained. These scholars(Locke, Rousseau, Smith) gave us the Contract Theory and the Separation of Powers in government and the principles of property rights and free markets. Adam Smith published the Wealth of Nations in 1776 and was as central to America’s success as Jefferson’s Declaration. The root truth is that Man’s nature is essentially self-interested, looking out for #1. What’s in it for me? He wants to accumulate possessions(i.e.capital) for his pleasure and protection. Blind self-interest would have him take from others with ultimately destructive results. “Enlightened self-interest” would have him trade or barter his labor or currency with others for something they have he wants. Transactions only occur in this “free market” when both parties are “Mutually Satisfied.” Hence all are benefited as if “some invisible hand” lifted society. The Free Market is not based on Greed but TRUST between the negotiators.
Prices, Wages, and the swing of the economy are all then governed by other universals, e.g. the Law of Supply and Demand. Eventually, inequities are dealt with since everyone plays by the same rules. What would really mess it up? When an overwhelming authority like the King would dictate prices to benefit his favorites. The motto of the French Physiocrats(“let nature rule”) was laissez faire, le monde va de lui-meme. “Leave it alone. The world goes on of itself.” The Free Enterprise system that made America exceptional was based on property rights, free markets, and minimal government interference. Modern statist ideologies like Marxism are threatening all of that. Class warfare and redistribution of the wealth through taxing some and “entitling” others are destructive of all.