Thanks to property rights and free markets, humanity has achieved prosperity and freedom that our ancestors hardly dreamed about.
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For most of history, kings and tyrants ruled. They took and kept slaves, confiscated property, and waged decades-long wars.
Then, “around 1700, suddenly, limited government and property rights, and markets came into the world,” David Boaz of the CATO Institute points out.
The results were amazing. Americans are now 30x richer than we were 200 years ago.
That perspective is lost on populist complainers like Bernie Sanders, who falsely claim “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
If he and his followers understood their history, they might be less eager to tear down the free-market system that made lives better.
“When America began, rich people were poorer than poor people are today,” says Boaz.
Hotels were rare, so even rich travelers — even the founding fathers — often had to share beds with strangers. John Jay complained about “picking up bedbugs and lice — four people at a time in these beds,” Boaz says.
The video above shows how it’s not just material prosperity that’s improved. Life got kinder, too.