The Market Will Set You Free

from PragerU

It’s time for free-market capitalism to reclaim its legacy as a creator of prosperity — not just for citizens of the Western world, but for people everywhere. It’s not capitalism that has to justify itself; it’s everything else. Why? Because everything else has resulted only in poverty. Does that surprise you? Are you skeptical? Andy Puzder, author of “The Capitalist Comeback,” has the charts and data to prove it.

The Star-Spangled Banner, long a treasured symbol of national unity, has suddenly become “one of the most racist, pro-slavery songs” in American culture. Why is this happening? And more importantly, is it true? USA Today columnist James Robbins explores the history of the song and its author to answer these questions.

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Take a close look at this.

Jonathan Haidt, the noted New York University psychologist calls it “the most important graph in the world.”

Why does he say that?

Because he knows this graph reveals a simple, inescapable fact: there is no substitute for free-market capitalism as a promoter of human prosperity.

Let it be noted that Haidt is no one’s idea of a conservative. But, when hard evidence stares him in the face, he’s not going to look away.

The graph is based on the research conducted by the late British economist Angus Maddison. The numbers along the X-axis are years. Two thousand of them. The numbers on the Y-axis are dollars. All of them, divided by the number of people on the planet. It’s what’s called GDP per capita, which is the world’s economic output divided by its population. GDP is considered the best measurement of a country’s standard of living and, in this case, the world’s standard of living.

Often when I show this graph to students, I get this comment: “That’s not capitalism; it’s just the impact of the Industrial Revolution.”

So, I show them another chart by the Maddison Project. This one breaks the GDP hockey stick into regions. As you can see, there are a number of hockey sticks. But note that they don’t rise at the same time. The United States surged first.


Well, in a very fortuitous coincidence the year 1776 witnessed both the signing of our Declaration of Independence and the publication of a book called “The Wealth of Nations” by the Scottish economist and philosopher, Adam Smith. In his book, Smith explained how to create a modern free-market capitalist economy and the benefits of doing so.

America’s wise founders took Smith’s principles to heart and within a mere 100 years—the blink of an eye historically—capitalism turned the United States from thirteen backwoods colonies into the world’s largest economy. And it has held that position ever since.

Western Europe shot up as well, but later. It rose steadily during the Industrial Revolution and then experienced a sharp rise after World War II when, between the end of the war and the mid-1960s, it fully embraced the free market.

Japan, too, shot up after World War II – surpassing Western Europe for the first time after the US helped the Japanese transition to a democracy and a free-market capitalist economy.

Eastern Europe took off after it was released from the Soviet Union and socialism in 1991.

China did likewise after the Chinese moved away from strict socialism and implemented some limited free-market policies. One can only imagine where China would be now if its leaders had fully unleashed the forces of the free market.