All Commentary
Friday, July 1, 1988

Book Review: Capitalism For Kids by Karl Hess

Enterprise Publishing, 725 Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 1987 • 247 pages • $14.95 cloth, $9.95 paperback

Karl Hess has written a book for children and for those who care about children. He deals with the philosophical and practical problems of society and presents capitalism—the free market, private property system—as the best solution. As he sums up in a section for parents toward the end of the book, “The proposition of this book has been, simply, to put in terms that young people can appreciate, the meaning of capitalism and the free market, to encourage them not only to understand it but to become a part of it, to share its ethics of individual responsibility, and its rewards—and to do it while they are very young.”

Hess places strong emphases on ethics and entrepreneurship. The capitalistic system is best, he says, because it encourages people to be open to new ideas, to be ready to change, and to be able to make choices which, from an economic perspective, are beneficial for all. In such a society each person is responsible for his or her actions and is encouraged to practice honesty, integrity, and fairness—aware that such actions foster practical and material success. Hess encourages youngsters to start their own businesses, to plan well, to develop a strong work ethic, and to be ready to answer for mistakes and liabilities.

This book fills a real void in the literature of freedom. I wish it had been around when I was a kid. []

Capitalism for Kids, by Karl Hess, is available in paperback for $9.95 or cloth for $14.95 (plus $1.00 U.S. mail or $2.00 UPS shipping and handling). To order, or to request a complete free catalogue of books on liberty, write Laissez Faire Books, Department F, 532 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3956. (212-925-8992)

  • Carl Helstrom is the current Chairman of State Policy Network. He is Executive Director of The JM Foundation and the Milbank Foundation for Rehabilitation in Princeton, New Jersey. A graduate of Grove City College (Grove City, PA), he worked with free enterprise education and research organizations for more than ten years before becoming a consultant to several private foundations and joining JM and Milbank in 1997.

    Carl is also a Trustee of the A. P. Kirby Jr. Foundation in Mendham, NJ and a Director of The Roe Foundation of Greenville, SC. He and his wife, Jane, have three sons.