How did the "liberal-capitalist" economic model impact the world?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of ways in which this model has impacted the world.  Let us examine two of these, one of which is positive and one of which is negative.

On the positive side, it is clear that the liberal-capitalist model has created a world of greater material wealth and freedom.  Capitalism created a system in which money could flow efficiently to those businesses that were creating goods and services that were useful to the people of the world.  These businesses made their owners richer and also created a class of workers who, eventually, came to be fairly well-paid.  They also created the goods and services that allow many people in the world today to enjoy a very high standard of living.  When we contrast the prosperity of countries that have liberal-capitalist systems with the relative lack of prosperity in countries with command economies, we can see that capitalism is clearly associated with material gains.

In addition, liberal-capitalism tends to bring about increased freedom.  Capitalism thrives when people are allowed to make choices.  When people are allowed to make economic choices, they tend to want to make other choices as well.  In addition, people who have material wealth often have the time and the inclination to push for greater political and personal freedoms.  Again, we can see that liberal-capitalist countries are much more free than countries with command economies.

On the negative side, liberal-capitalism has (it can be argued) created a world in which wealth is valued above all else.  In this world, people are allowed or even encouraged to ignore the common good in pursuit of personal freedom and wealth.  This brings about a world in which people do not care for one another or for their society as much as they otherwise might.  In short, we pay something of a price for our wealth.  A liberal-capitalist system (arguably) makes us richer but also makes us more selfish and less likely to care about others.