The creed was capitalism, a concept about which Seldon wrote his most distinguished book in 1990, and which had been under sustained assault for much of the 20th century. Seldon's work begins with this typically unapologetic statement: "Capitalism requires not defence but celebration. Its achievement in creating high and rising living standards for the masses without sacrificing personal liberty speaks for itself. Only the deaf will not hear and the blind will not see."It seems that the Chinese communist party understands this somewhat (even as they still operate an incredibly repressive regime). Their counterparts in democratic India are simply risible. The only Communists to win elections democratically (and lose them too), they still tenaciously cling to the illusions of Marxist dialectic (except, it seems, when they're ruling, as in West Bengal, and all the horrifically capitalist reforms the state government has implemented there), and now having a lever with the national government (they support the coalition from outside) delight in being, what we would say in Hindi, kabab mein haddi, "bone in the kebab" or stick in the mud.
If anything, Seldon understated his point. Not only did capitalism raise living standards without sacrifice of personal liberty: it also guaranteed it. Capitalism has nothing to do with its caricature of oppressed workers enslaved to big bosses and exploited by them. Markets, which are the metaphysical temples in which the creed is practised, bring together buyers and sellers of goods and labour, and allow them the freedom to exercise their will about what, or what not, to buy and sell.
If the point is still not clear, then think of how the alternative system operates: a denial of the right to buy and own private property, labour indentured to the state, the state assuming the role of the private individual and his family and, fundamentally, the borders of such countries sealed to try to prevent the forces of freedom getting in, and the genuinely enslaved people getting out.
Back to the article:
In this spirit, and at the start of his book, he quoted his mentor and friend Friedrich von Hayek: "If we ask what men most owe to the moral practices of those who are called capitalists the answer is: their very lives... most of the Western proletariat, and most of the millions of the developing world, owe their existence to opportunities that advanced countries have created for them. Communist countries such as Russia would be starving today if their populations were not kept alive by the Western world."One of my reading resolutions this year is to get some Hayek under the belt. As well as Adam Smith.
And here's a great book that I recommend to all, which really got me hot on things economic (well, being the son of two economists also helps :)).