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Why Capitalism Works

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Cultural depictions of capitalism are almost all negative. There's the Monopoly guy with the top hat and cigar. There's Gordon Gekko saying, "Greed is good." And, most recently, there's the hedonism of the "Wolf of Wall Street". The message is clear: capitalism is selfish. Socialism, or something like it, is selfless. In fact, the opposite is true. Renowned social critic George Gilder offers this startling insight: capitalism, at its core, is first an expression of altruism; that is, of giving. An entrepreneur can only succeed by satisfying a customer's need. This is why capitalism, and only capitalism, can create the prosperity that all societies crave and why all other economic prescriptions are doomed to failure. Donate today to PragerU! http://l.prageru.com/2ylo1Yt Joining PragerU is free! Sign up now to get all our videos as soon as they're released. http://prageru.com/signup Download Pragerpedia on your iPhone or Android! Thousands of sources and facts at your fingertips. iPhone: http://l.prageru.com/2dlsnbG Android: http://l.prageru.com/2dlsS5e Join Prager United to get new swag every quarter, exclusive early access to our videos, and an annual TownHall phone call with Dennis Prager! http://l.prageru.com/2c9n6ys Join PragerU's text list to have these videos, free merchandise giveaways and breaking announcements sent directly to your phone! https://optin.mobiniti.com/prageru Do you shop on Amazon? Click https://smile.amazon.com and a percentage of every Amazon purchase will be donated to PragerU. Same great products. Same low price. Shopping made meaningful. VISIT PragerU! https://www.prageru.com FOLLOW us! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prageru Twitter: https://twitter.com/prageru Instagram: https://instagram.com/prageru/ PragerU is on Snapchat! JOIN PragerFORCE! For Students: http://l.prageru.com/29SgPaX JOIN our Educators Network! http://l.prageru.com/2c8vsff Script: Now no one disputes that all economic systems reflect the intrinsic self-concern of human beings. But only capitalism creates a group of people, known as entrepreneurs, who have no choice but to concern themselves with the needs and desires of others. These others are their customers. Few economists, however, actually study the behavior of these entrepreneurs, the creative leaders of capitalist businesses. If they did, they would discover that entrepreneurs by the very nature of what they do must shun greed. First and foremost, responding to others is the very opposite of greed. Second, greed, in the economic sphere, is normally expressed as the immediate consumption of goods and services. I grab what I can without regard for others. But entrepreneurs must begin by saving, which is defined as forgoing consumption to achieve long-term goals. Often it takes months, sometimes many years to bring a new product or service to market. Furthermore, entrepreneurs must collaborate with others, building teams to achieve their aims. In designing their goods and services, they must -- once again -- focus not on their own needs but on the needs of others. This, too, is the opposite of greed. So, what entrepreneurs do when they seek profit is far more than self-interest. Rather, profit is a measure of how well a company has served others. Under capitalism, a business prospers only if customers voluntarily trade for its output. For the complete script, visit https://www.prageru.com/videos/why-capitalism-works
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Text Comments (4176)
Wan Fu (1 day ago)
I would add a couple other points: 1.) Capitalism allows for agency. You can choose what you want to do for work. You are not assigned your job and you are forced into a position regardless of your actual skill set. So if you are good at farming or found a better way to charge a cell phone, you can do it. 2.) Capitalism evolves. If there is a better way forward, the market rewards it Blockbuster died because Netflix found a better way via embracing technology that became publicly available. The car is far more efficient now because car companies are competing for customers. When you use other systems, you get the Trabant.
Lifesaving medicines that cost your heart and liver and your entire life savings per $1 pill
Patricius (26 days ago)
I want to tell my opinion but i will be bullied by all these brainwashed capitalists. so i will silence, for now
El Turco Sali (26 days ago)
If socialism is better than capitalism then why USSR and Yugoslavia both collapsed?
JADEN JACKSON (27 days ago)
Ohl look 666K VIEWS
The Narrator (1 month ago)
"The Needs of the Many, Outweigh the Needs of the Few" ~Doctor Spock
Noah Hovland Show (1 month ago)
It still amazes me how many smart people are economically illiterate. They want what's best for the world, but don't understand capitalism is the single best system for ending poverty and elevating our standard of living.
sg98films (1 month ago)
This sounds really nice but most entrepreneurs don't work like this. Think of how many people live like shit on Asia because big brands pay them nothing putting their needs in front of others. Even people who aren't particularly suffering see themselves being made fun of basically by entrepreneurs. Like how for example the gaming industry makes more and more money by making its customers buy more. Or how you have to buy an expensive ass phone every year or so when they could make them last. But since they'd make less money they take advantage of their customers. Capitalism is built upon an idea of never ending resources. When clearly we are already running out of them
Dark-EyedTraveler (1 month ago)
I don't understand why is "profit" so demonized. All it means that when you subtract costs from your income the result is not negative.
buster117 (1 month ago)
1.8k Communists disliked
buster117 (1 month ago)
1.8k Communists disliked
Eric (1 month ago)
entrepreneur are not the beating heart of capitalism. Entrepreneurs are not the problem, capitalists are. Without doing anything they take a huge slice of what the entrepreneur creates. It is the deceit of capitalism that is most sickening.
guyoflife (1 month ago)
Capitalism is holding back humanity.
Jonathan Kragelund (2 months ago)
Capitalism is failing my comarades. Soon it will be history and we will pay our respect to all the victims of it. Hopefully we will find the right way to run a country in the future.
Tw1 (2 months ago)
ReAl SoCialism HaSn't BeEn TrIEd
Raymond P (2 months ago)
To see why capitalism works versus socialism you just need to Google nighttime satellite imagery of North and South Korea
Duckminifarm (2 months ago)
Capitalism is good in many ways, and certainly is preferable to state-owned businesses. However, if a company developed a cure for cancer, how much do you think it would cost? Do you think it would be affordable for most people, out of pure altruism? No! It would probably be a million dollars a dose, so that it would only be affordable for the wealthy. Yes, companies DO spend huge sums of money in research, and the benefits eventually filter down to the great unwashed masses, etc. etc. When push-comes-to-shove, however, a large company is going to milk all the money it can out of something, even if it means denying people basic needs. This is why critical needs such as utilities are regulated, because otherwise companies have you over a barrel and can charge whatever the market will bear. Capitalism IS great, but there have to be some limits on how much a company can charge for a necessary product and how little pay/much work a company can require of its staff. (Consider, for instance, the current trend of companies basically having employees be "on call" all the time with cell phones.) Otherwise we would return to the days of child-workers being crushed to death in textile mills or hauling coal like horses in coal mines. The market and public opinion alone are sometimes not enough to stop abuses such as these.
pukalo [CDN] (2 months ago)
"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."
TEK LIFE (2 months ago)
Capitalism works under proper government control, remove worker and environmental protection laws and you will see how businessmen/entrepreneur really don't care about others if it's not directly in his short-term interest by turning whatever country into China like toxic dump where companies forcing employees to work in unsafe conditions as cost-cutting measure to match the competition. Remember, once was the West on the same rock-bottom level in terms of working conditions as is China now, few updates in laws, and you will taste what is greed really about on your own skin...
roman legionhare (2 months ago)
Government is merely overhead. It produces nothing. When it controls the economy, it is not making decisions based upon the needs of the consumer or of the manufacturer, but merely what will fit into their understanding of issues, or more frequently, what will line the pockets of the bureaucrats. It kills entrepreneurship. Capitalism inspires entrepreneurs and therefore the creation of new products.
jeremy hunking (3 months ago)
what failed capitalist society are you basing this on? this is the same thing we all said the last hundred times we tried this method. The trick to being informed about history is that it goes back farther than a couple decades. Its uncanny how cyclical it is. By whatever name we call the country it always ends in the dark ages.
Navajo Gamer Nation NM (3 months ago)
It doesn't :-P
Equality Four (3 months ago)
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Capitalism is Kindness.
GovernmentCritic (3 months ago)
What if the people that worked and made the products were the democratic owners of the business? Then the workers would be giving to the consumers without the middle managment of an owner. That seems like a better system than the current one. This is called cooperativism, named after co-ops, where the workers are the democratic owners.
Dominic Enyart (3 months ago)
Couldn't you say that capitalism caused the great depression?
annihilationHaven (4 months ago)
Fair enough, I certainly don't want to judge something that I know very little about. But I'm still inclined to go into a better direction due to the incredible faults of the capitalist system.
fl00fydragon (4 months ago)
caiptlism is the only way you can get altruism fueled by selfish interests ? Bollocks I am a transhumanist altruist I dream of humanity acheiving a type 1 civilisation because i want to live in such an advanced society
Jon Curry (4 months ago)
Why does he say only capitalism produces entrepreneurs? A capitalist economy has a group of people separate from the laborer that controls the means of production. On socialism there is no separation. Workers control the means of production and are not obligated to pay a separate person for the privilege of using the tools. On socialism you could just as easily have an entrepreneur. The only difference is the workers at the business are the exclusive beneficiaries of the profit made, not a separate owner. I'm not sure this guy knows what capitalism is.
Ryzen (4 months ago)
Wait doesn't the rich own like 40% of America's wealth? Not saying I don't like capitalism, but it's a better option than socialism and communism.
Paul Gibbons (5 months ago)
What he says is unique to capitalism, is not unique to capitalism. (Entrepreneurs exists in socialist Europe, and state-socialist China such as Alibaba). He says "only capitalism allows entrepreneurs" which is false. He says "only under capitalism do businesses prosper if they serve customers" - also false. So where what he says is true, it is true for all businesses, in all countries. To add another thing - PRAGER is NOT a university (has no charter, grants no degrees), and Gilder is a nut job (creationist among other things).
Linus Cleveland (5 months ago)
The problem is that a capital - focused buisness tends to exploit workers, services and / or materials in order to benefit their own company and nothing but. This video SHOULD be titled “Why Entrepreneurship Works”
Pyro (5 months ago)
This video is reminiscent of 1950's cold war propaganda
Nathanael (5 months ago)
I like the description of capitalism being the channeling of self interest into altruism. After all, you can't win the capitalist system without leaving someone else better off. Customers get products and services they actually want. Employees receive paychecks. Entrepreneurs make fortunes. Stock investors make profit. Capitalism is based on greed, which is why it works. In the words of William Howard Taft, "socialism proposes no adequate substitute for the motive of enlightened selfishness that today is at the basis of all human labor and effort, enterprise and new activity". Take away the benefit of providing for others, and altruism will cease to be.
Based Goy (5 months ago)
What if the customer doesn't know what's best for them?
Michael Gray (5 months ago)
Said nothing about the workers
Fung Ho Lam (6 months ago)
God’s new cool
Johnny Wilder (6 months ago)
Although I don't understand 100% it still a great video😚😉😉
Simboiss (6 months ago)
At 0:14, the video says : "Business owner/operators who have no choice but to concern themselves with the needs and desires of others." In socialism, that's exactly what happens too. With these differences: - There are only business managers, not "owners". Businesses are owned by the collectivity. - There is no profit. The goal is to create the best products and/or provide the best services. - If a business employee is not competent enough, he is replaced. - There is no competition. There can be diversification of products as needed.
Dev S (6 months ago)
Propaganda and lies. Monopoly capitalism is dangerous for the self interested people of a nation state.
Daniel Cosgrove (6 months ago)
Sweden is socialist (or very close to it). Sweden is also the happiest country on the planet. Hmmmmmmm
John Adan (6 months ago)
Totally agree 👌👏👏👏👏
Solomon Chang (6 months ago)
Capitalism is evil! I support socialism and think that it should be applied in schools as well. Those who got an A must share their marks to those who fail or got a P. You know, to reduce grading inequality.
Frame by Frame (6 months ago)
Flaw with the argument: just because people are forced to act in a way that would come from altruistic motives, if the motives are not there, they are not selfless.
Tobby The Tobester (6 months ago)
So all of the Sudden an immigrant isn't Hispanic.
Etta victor (6 months ago)
The fact is that Capitalism is the only economic system that is fully compatible with the American dream. A dream which if carefully studied is actually the basic human desire.
dwd ded (6 months ago)
Jason Michael (6 months ago)
Except insurance.
sogerc1 (6 months ago)
2:37 yeah, there were times when I wasn't sure how I'll make rent but now I have my own debt-free home. Self employment is the best way!
John Rambo (6 months ago)
There's a site for that: http://capitalismworks.org
Normal Human being (6 months ago)
+90% of start ups fail and the 50% of the rest fail in 4 years im ok?
Businesses must help people if people are going to help the businesses. Bam capitalism.
Anna K (6 months ago)
considering the world is literally dying because some assholes choose pieces of paper over sustaining the ecosystem... i really wouldnt say its working super well tbh
Fury (6 months ago)
Lol capitalism altruistic? Someone needs to pick up a dictionary... capitalism runs off self interest fundamentally.
George Tsopanoglou (6 months ago)
? ? (6 months ago)
moist faucet (6 months ago)
The Relationship between American Private Enterprise and US gov, it is not that simple. They always claim they are Capitalist, but they both close to Socialist. Because they need each other. It is just the Stupid American does not know it as long as they got big house and car, who care what of what until things begun to screw up then they start to take notice. Capitalist definition : "an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by PRIVATE owners for PROFIT rather than by the STATE for General Welfare."
ilikeutube (7 months ago)
Drug dealers make a lot of money by getting people hook on their meth and crack. Is that capitalism?
Christian Peña (7 months ago)
People need to understand that capitalism’s problems are not external problems but are SYSTEMIC problems (there built into the system). You cannot have a democracy while having capitalism because since capitalism is obviously profit driven, the employer must pay its employees less then they produce so that the employer can gain profit. That is the reason that capitalist have been so successful. It is basically legal theft! People in the comments say that socialist are “lazy” and need to stop complaining, yet it is the working class that makes you successful. It is your practice of exploitation on these workers that makes you rich. You are getting away with ripping people off by under paying them yet when those very people say something you call them “lazy slobs” and that they just need to get back to work. The stupidity within the right wing community is so prevalent that it is terrifying to me an anarcho- socialist. These systemic problems are basically thrown in your face yet your thick skull cannot perceive them. I could go way deeper into why capitalism is a faulty and un-democratic system but that would take hours so I’d rather reply to what your arguments against me are.
Iver Lundlie Åsenhus (7 months ago)
I was looking for an educational video, not propaganda
- Simplicity (7 months ago)
I must say, hats off to the top commenters, sublime points. All I really have to add is, I believe a good deal of hatred for capitalism stems from capitalistic outcomes, rather than the system itself. It's itself an economic tool, of course it can be misused. But it works, and despite the good intentions of socialists it will always be more effective, liberating, and beneficial...at its core. I won't get into reforms, heaven's this comment is lengthy enough. Great video~
Ash Guth (7 months ago)
Well I recognize my confirmation bias with Socialism so I am watching videos as such, but how can you put Altruism and Capitalism in the same sentence? How do you explain the Banking Crisis of 2007/08 if not with Greed and the pursuit of self interest at the cost of others. some 6-7 millions others that lost there homes because of risky banking systems... How can you explain the widening abyss between the rich and poor? I am sorry, but this video is wrong and false and doesn't not explain how capitalism is good, in any way! In fact, this video is so bad, I cannot believe it is from a University, just goes to show have Neo-liberalization has infiltrated the education systems. #terrible
Post Leftist (8 months ago)
I was just on the border of socialist or capitalist, thanks to this weak video I am now no longer a capitalist. PragerU try harder.
psovegeta (2 days ago)
Socialism produces food rationing and starvation and a perpetual police state. Capitalism produces high ways, affordable hand held super computers and super markets filled with more food than we will ever need. Clearly capitalism is doing something wrong! lol
Jackson Cummings (1 month ago)
Post Leftist Hitler was a socialist
Mike Anderson 2002 (1 month ago)
Post Leftist You were never a capitalist to begin with you dirty commie
Break the Chains (1 month ago)
"Gotta love how socialism fails every time yet retards still believe it's viable." Gatta love how people actually think that socialism has been tried. Capitalists SAY that it has been tried, but it hasn't. Furthermore, capitalism has failed the entire world three times since 1900. Yet, here you are still in support of it. Why?
guyoflife (1 month ago)
Star Killer USSR actually worked pretty well for decades until near the end. Everyone was well fed and they were developing rapidly. Capitalism simply can't sustain itself without doing whatever it takes to keep up profits. It must do anything no matter the costs. That's why there's so many problems in the world even in first world countries. It impedes human progress and advancements in many ways and makes us sick.
Finn Jacobs (8 months ago)
I like Capitalism, Capitalism is nice.
ROGER2095 (8 months ago)
I love capitalism! All day long, entrepreneurs all over the world are dreaming up new ways to please me in order to get my money.
Marc Bell (8 months ago)
If capitalism worked there would never be a socialist revolution and there have been many many many such with their rejection of the us/ capitalist backed tyrant. When you place the word capital before social you always end up with a savage, shallow, non progressive winner take all cronyism. All the capitalisms had to adopt many socialist policies to even survive - see the new deal. When a socialism is working: iraq, libya, central america US 1% send in the marines to f it up. Capitalist fascism: no other economic system or experiment may exist but the one we like. That isn't free.
Raphael Rae (9 months ago)
Absolutely! Trustworthiness increases business!!
Dionne Agnes (9 months ago)
I love capitalism I'm gonna make so much money and enjoy it all by myself.
El Turco Sali (9 months ago)
Smita B (9 months ago)
Why income and wealth gap increasing in US? 43 million living below poverty in US and bottom 50% or 63 million households have net worth of $11K.
john rogers (9 months ago)
"Creates a group of people known as entrepreneurs..." --- True statement. Only the class of people with capital can experiment -- an elite class, mind you. If this kind of innovation is the bread and butter of better existence, it's quite sparse, isn't it?
GrilledPhoenix (10 months ago)
Not all capitalist country is entrepreneurial. Some countries are resource economies or labour based. It really depends on the countries' conditions and whether they are fully developed
Daikataro Kamegawa (10 months ago)
I find it funny, that socialism has its strongest supporter base, in countries that are not socialist. It's like that good old saying "the only person eager to fight a war, is he who has never fought one before".
iHatty (10 months ago)
Oh my god capitalism is so bad it totally wasn't like when the government sided more socialist and bailed banks out of bankruptcy the economy shit.
Taras Basri (10 months ago)
Long live capitalism !
TheBIGman 420 (10 months ago)
Communism is and has always been the superior ideology you capitalist pig and if anyone thinks otherwise they should be killed
James Hames (11 months ago)
Capitalism even though it requires giving to get wealth is simply mans greatest avenue to power and therefore the worst thing to ever happen to the world
James Hames (11 months ago)
Capitalism is corrupt at its core. We need a system whereby capitalists cannot accumulate the wealth and resources they do which creates an unlevel playing field for everybody else. The monopolies and centralised corporations of today are the root of all evil
HUNDmiau (11 months ago)
When you win an argument so PragerU deletes your comments so no one sees why capitalism is bs and should be eradicated. #PinochetIsProudOfYou
Vaughn reed jr (11 months ago)
capitalism steal from poor african country.
Vaughn reed jr (11 months ago)
capitalism only work for the 1% percent.
Cameron Howard (11 months ago)
capitalism has killed over a billion people.
Florida Railfanning 812 (11 months ago)
Some idiot communist moron kid reacted to this..
Kyle Petseluy (11 months ago)
LOL. Entrepeneur = flawless loving human being. This propaganda shit is hillarious. An Entrepreneur who sells life threatening drugs? An Entrepreneur who benefits from poor economies and low wages to make billions? Yeah those guys are really Altruistic. H U M A N S A R E T R A S H
Idaho Wumbo (11 months ago)
If an entrepreneur sold life threatening drugs they'll either get sued or reported to the FDA. Oh yeah...an entrepreneur bringing jobs and economic growth to poor areas. How terrible.
Phellia Abadeer (11 months ago)
If you do a good action because of selfish interests, it's not a good action.
kekkekkekk (11 months ago)
Might add up to something good but often it's a complex calculation of seeing the highest price consumers will bear and marketing ploys.
John Kiunke (11 months ago)
You know, no one in American politics is for communism or socialism, the right wingers are for handouts to millionaires that don't need them, left wingers are for support systems for people that have no access to a good job, usually because they were born in a situation that made it impossible to get a good education and they have no choice but to take a low-paying job. There would be more room for entrepreneurship if basic healthcare and education are provided so that you don't have to be born into wealth to have a chance. The free market can only exist for a while, and then companies will make it not that way, by taking over, buying politicians, and making them pass laws to squander every one else trying to make a life for themselves.
Domingo (11 months ago)
Wow I thank you guys for opening my eyes to how we sell regulate with capitalism. I was really left on a lot of issues, this being one of them. I didn't think much of the governments role is ruining the true idea of free market capitalism. I would feel a lot better about capitalism if these big companies that messed up paid the price of going bankrupt, even if it did put the market into a downturn. So be it. What would the result of been if in 2008 the government didn't give the big banks free money. It was their decisions to behave that way, I would much rather had them die and the economy crash and let us figure it out, what would of happened if let it happen that way? Was it a good idea to bail them out or a bad one?
FerdinandAlt (11 months ago)
Ever heard of corporate welfare?!
Anna Whipple (11 months ago)
This video is brought to you by capitalism.
QBEY (1 year ago)
Social democracy includes both socialism and capitalism and works as well
Apollo Foxmask (1 year ago)
*WARNING* the following comment section is infested with cancer (socialists). please evacuate ASAP.
PYRO IN AUSTRIA (1 year ago)
it doesn't` work
Nope Nope (1 year ago)
do how comunism works
Alex Nezhynsky (1 year ago)
Socialism - cool idea, wrong time, wrong planet, and wrong species.
Pangeaner (11 months ago)
well not 1936 in spain for example
Idaho Wumbo (11 months ago)
More like a shitty idea, never time, never on this planet and certainly not our species.
Siddharth Agrawal (1 year ago)
Whoever disliked this, is a solb who doesnt wanna do hardwork on his own
harshit stats (1 year ago)
entrepreneurs don't really need to satisfy customers to earn money. We all know there are many unethical and corrupt means for earning money, for which capitalism acts as a catalyst
Broscro (1 year ago)
"the rich exploit workers" that's why workers' unions were made. The people were tired of being exploited so they actually did something about it. They took their work and they withheld it in unison until they got what they wanted from the big companies! This is something you will ONLY see in a capitalist economy. Try starting a workers' union where the government owns all means of production! You'll be behind bars. God Bless Freedom and the men and women who've defended it both militarily and ideologically.
Brick Man (1 year ago)
"Capitalism is the only way to live." Everything else is just a failed dream or a primitive way of life.
Liam Dyer (1 year ago)
1) it doesn't
Brutus Tan (1 year ago)
Ok to few of you complaining of his voice, his voice actually makes it soothing and stable and steady. So I actually like this video a little more than the other brilliant economics videos of Prager University.

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