John Stossel, host of Fox Business Network’s “Stossel,” spoke of the importance of capitalism and its positive influence on American society to GW’s Young America’s Foundation Wednesday night.
Stossel argued that capitalism and the free market are the reasons America’s economy is fairing better during the global economic crisis.
“How come we’re doing well when most people aren’t? Why is America prospering?” Stossel asked.
A student answered, “the free market.”
Stossel said he was not always a firm believer in capitalism’s efficiency.
“I viewed business as most Americans do.cruel and unfair,” Stossel said of his former economic views. “I discovered it slowly.started changing my reporting and started showing how limited government is better.”
Regarding America’s current financial situation, Stossel said capitalism was not the culprit.
“What failed was not capitalism. Government regulation like Fannie and Freddie were the problem,” he said, referring to mortgage finance lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Stossel said he also does not think the current economic state is a crisis, but believes that the media has sensationalized it.
“I think the Revolutionary War was a crisis, but the media always pushes crises. It sells more papers, gets people to watch,” Stossel said.
Stossel called capitalism “the freedom to fail as well as receive,” and said the economy would not always run smoothly.
“Good companies grow and bad ones will atrophy. The free market will protect us in all areas,” Stossel said.
Stossel concluded with a reference to America’s Founding Fathers.
“The Founders had it right.we need limited government,” Stossel said. “Capitalism has lifted more people out of the mud than most systems. Capitalism is win-win, but people don’t see that.”
Melanie Camhi, a sophomore in the Elliott School of International Affairs asked Stossel to explain his views on the government’s role in business.
“Whenever I hear people discuss the free market, I’m reminded of the Industrial Revolution. Do you not see any role of government in business at all?”
Stossel said he disagreed with the premise of Camhi’s question but said government should have a very small role.
“I thought he was fantastic,” Camhi said afterward. “I agreed with 95 percent of what he said.”