The World According to Walter

Wriston, Walter B.


The constitution of capitalism

The constitution of capitalism


Adam Smith, the Father of Capitalism, did not have a high opinion of capitalists. What he understood was that multitudes of human beings pursuing their own best interest will ultimately produce a sort of common denominator from which we all have a chance of getting the best available deal at the moment....

The market is the greatest data processor in existence. It adjusts for things seen and unseen in a way no single person can perceive. Its ability to sift through the mass of data and arrive at a conclusion on everything from the dollar-yen cross-rate to the price of a given product is frustrating to people who believe a particular professional discipline should have more influence on prices than it has... .That the market makes judgments at variance with what you and I might regard as the "correct judgment" in no way alters the reality of its efficiency....

The bailout of the Chrysler Corporation by the federal government, as a denial of the right of private owners to fail, logically leads to the denial of the right to succeed.

Too many of us bankers, and others as well, practice doublethink. We defend free markets in public, but in our own offices and before government agencies we do our absolute best to create protected industries. This not only damages the fabric of the whole business community but inevitably leads to the loss of freedom....Protected markets are the exact opposite of free markets and free people.

Whenever a business cannot or does not respond to the expressed demand of the public, a competitor moves in....Competition is not a one-to-one proposition but rather a subtle evolutionary process.