Maybe EfficientMarkets is better than this page
Does decentralized, free enterprise have to out-perform centralized planning?
The right think they've won the efficiency argument already : America, with it's minimal restrictions generates wealth for all.
The left can point to a multitude of caveats :
- America's subsidy of people and talent immigrating from the rest of the world;
- The hidden subsidy of 200+ years of slavery.
- America's hidden government subsidy to industry via military spending
- America's pool of dispossesed witnesses genuine inefficiency which is simply ignored.
- The dollar was given the status of global reference currency by the Bretton-Woods agreements, on the understanding it would back that with gold. In the early 70's, America couldn't pay and Nixon took the US off the GoldStandard. Effectively the US was unable to pay it's debt and reneged. But due to the status of the dollar, it could escape any liability. No one else was rich enough to call it's bluff. But this extra power should be taken into account when considering US success.
- America's ability to make unequal trade agreements with the rest of the world actually transfers wealth to it from poorer countries;
: Essentially, capitalism gave America the advantage over the majority of the feudalist world, and it's been ruthelessly exploiting that earlier success to maintain it's advantage through
** economic bullying (ability to make unfair trade deals : while espousing free market theory it imposes many trade restrictions and taxes on the third world),
** military bullying (war against Iraq),
** other exertions of power (for example, America promotes a general trade sanction against Cuba. Not only does it refuse to trade with Cuba which would be it's prerogative, but it also coerces others to not trade with Cuba. For example, by banning any ship which has docked in Cuba within the previous 6 months access to US ports. Most shipping companies in the region can't afford to take stuff to Cuba and then lose custom that involves the US
See also AmericanHypocrisy
Eventually I know we're gonna have to rely on AgentBasedModelling to answer the empirical question. Hence Optimaes
Interestingly, that seems to be what the Austrian economics inspired AgoricSystems people are looking into.