Former Secretary of Defense and CEO, Donald Rumsfeld has a brand new book focused on business, politics and more.
In “Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life,” released on May 14, Rumsfeld expounded on capitalism, and why we need more people to defend it in our society. “I suppose if more business leaders defended capitalism, there might not be quite as many smiling photos with politicians,” he wrote.
Rumsfeld served in the cabinet of three different presidents. He served in a variety of different capacities for President Nixon, and was the Secretary of Defense for both Gerald Ford and George W. Bush.
In between cabinet stints, Rumsfeld returned to work in the private sector where he served as CEO for two companies – G.D. Searle & Company, now part of Pfizer, and General Instrument Corporation.
In his new book, he noted that capitalism, profit, and business have slowly become bad terms in the eyes of many: “Over the years, criticism of business and capitalism seems to have increased.” Rumsfeld also pointed out that those with great influence, like professors, politicians, and entertainers “often disparage the capitalist system.”
Rumsfeld cited movies like 1987’s “Wall Street,” an iconic cinematic attack on capitalism and President Ronald Reagan’s policies with its famous phrase “Greed is good,” and Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” as examples from Hollywood that are “persuading young people that America and the free enterprise system are inherently unfair and against the free market system.”
Michael Moore’s 2009 “documentary” referenced by Rumsfeld was a response to the financial crisis. Not surprisingly, the media loved his call to throw out capitalism for something more “democratic” and “fair.” Ironically enough, this movie earned over $300 million at the box office, and Moore’s net worth is $50 million thanks to capitalism, according to celebritynetworth.com.
Rumsfeld is not the only person to notice the anti-business bias in entertainment media. Cynthia Magnunson, a spokeswoman for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), recently told the MRC’s Business and Media Institute that “Hollywood and TV frequently portray business as the bad guy – but they fail to distinguish big business from small.”
“It is important to appreciate that self-interest is not the same as selfishness,” Rumsfeld wrote in response to such Hollywood attacks. He then quoted famous economist Dr. Milton Friedman to further explain what “greed” actually is.
“What is greed? Of course none of us are greedy; it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests,” Friedman said in response to a question on how he could defend “the greed and concentration of power” supposedly inherent in capitalism.
After his lengthy discussion of capitalism, Rumsfeld criticized “unfree economic systems in which citizens do not own property and everyone supposedly shares the production of goods and services.” The biggest problem with these systems according to him, was that “everyone was not equal.”
Specifically citing the example of the Soviet Union, Rumsfeld point out that “The ruling class lived in luxurious dachas and were driven around in ZIL limousines.”