Free Enterprise: Sometimes We Forget

When we find ourselves debating specific issues having to do with economics and business, we often forget how overwhelming the evidence is for the superiority free markets in general. Whether it’s our friends at a place liked AEI—“Take a bow, capitalism — nearly 1 billion people have been taken out of extreme poverty in 20 years”—or celebrities like U2 front-man Bono—“Capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid”—it’s very clear that a free, productive economy brings the prosperity that alternate systems have consistently failed to deliver.

Because this big picture is often lost amid the details of politics, it’s especially refreshing when we see someone highlighting this fact with a clear message. Researchers and academics often talk about the real causes behind prosperity and poverty, but those discussions rarely break through into the popular media. As we’ve long argued at CEI, market advocates need access to a broad-based communications outlet that reaches the majority of the American public—like TV advertising.

We’re still working on showing more companies the advantages of selling capitalism while they sell their products. In the meantime, though, it’s fascinating to look back to an earlier time when at least some companies produced ads in just that style. This vintage Phillips 66 ad drives home the breathtaking prosperity we enjoy in the United States in a way that a 1,000-page study could not. 

Thanks to CEI research associate Justin Davis for finding this gem.