Consider the following. At the time of independence, the U.S. was essentially an economic backwater. By the time World War I broke out, we were clearly the world’s economic and military powerhouse. Just think of what the institutional set up was like that led to us going from third world status to history-making power!
- There was no minimum wage
- There was no income tax
- There was no FDA, EPA, USDA, Department of Education, etc.
- There was no central bank (Fed in 1913, First and Second Banks of US created and ended by 1836 and neither were central banks)
- There WAS private and competitive money issue and at times adherence to a gold standard
- Labor unions were few and far between
- Marriage was common, divorce rare and fertility high
- The economy was powered by wood and coal
- There was nearly universal “free-trade” among nations
- And so on.
Feel free to add your favorite to the list, or for weekend entertainment think of how forcefully and how convicted modern proponents of similar arguments are.