Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)
Pick your analogy: an economy is like a human body. It is like an engine. It is like an ecosystem.
An economy is an interactive, vibrant, bustling thing, with trillions of parts, with each part having its own place and function. Or at least it should be.
Any economy could very much be compared to the human body. And like most things, garbage in, garbage out. The body must be fed. Physically fed, mentally fed, spiritually fed, emotionally fed, socially fed - you name it. The body is vibrant, and complex. What goes into its creation and maintenance should very much be the best that can be provided.
Free enterprise is the kind of engine that is well suited to provide the best and most complex energy and sustenance for the body of any economy. Economic activity requires vibrancy, and the best place for diverse vibrancy is a free-market influence.
Carnegie said that while it may be tough on the individual, the competition found in a free enterprise economy is best for the whole (which he called "the race") because "it insures the survival of the fittest in every department."
And so it is with any body, or engine, or ecosystem, or whatever is complex and interactive.
Leonardo da Vinci had some suggestions on how to best maintain the human body. He was an accomplished chef, mostly vegetarian, and understood the importance of good food toward the maintenance of the human body. Goethe said of him, "Handsome with a splendid physique, he seemed a model for human perfection."
Obviously da Vinci practiced what he preached. He viewed illness as "the discord of elements infused into the living body." In other words, garbage in, garbage out.
And so it should be with an economy - what goes in contributes greatly to what results. Especially if it is allowed to operate freely. Good in, good out. Vibrant in, vibrant out. Happiness in, happiness out. Free enterprise in, free enterprise out. And so forth.
Here are da Vinci's suggestions for healthy living. Pay attention to how simple, and complete, this list is:
"To keep in health these rules apply:
- Beware of anger and avoid grievous moods.
- Rest your head and keep your mind cheerful.
- Be covered well at night.
- Exercise moderately.
- Shun wantonness and pay attention to diet.
- Eat only when you want, and sup light.
- Keep upright when you rise from the dining table.
- Do not be with the belly upward or the heat lowered.
- Let your wine be mixed with water, take a little at a time, not between meals and not on an empty stomach.
- Eat simple (i.e. vegetarian) food.
- Chew well.
- Go to the toilet regularly!"
Free enterprise is the model for economic perfection.