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Capitalism and Its Names: Pedro Schwartz
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No doubt the welfare capitalism created in the West during the last century has directly or indirectly increased the well-being of mankind. In the above-mentioned essay, Professor Prados follows the example of many other distinguished economists in preferring to measure the progress of capitalist societies by 'well-being' rather than by productivity per head. Well-being he defines as does the United Nations with their above-mentioned Human Development Index (HDI), which apart from national income per capita includes life expectancy at birth and schooling and literacy. In some versions HDI is corrected for inequality, thus insensibly affirming the superiority of social-democratic capitalism over laissez faire capitalism.

The growth of production per head

In sum, we should take the gross domestic product per head as the best indicator of the phenomenal progress of our societies during the last seven centuries. With all its defects as a measure of income4 and the imprecision of the data for remote periods, GDP per head comes nearest to measuring the effect of the capitalist system on society, as if it had been throughout a laissez faire system.


Schwartz, Pedro (1966): "John Stuart Mill and Laissez Faire: London Water". Economica, N.S. vol. 38, nr. 129, February, pgs 71-83.