Visual Capitalism

I’ve long been interested in efforts to make the case for capitalism. A free-marketeer myself, I wrote my Master’s thesis on an ad campaign from the 1950s that sought to persuade people of the virtues of American-style capitalism. I was thrilled to learn that in the wake of the recent financial crisis, the US Chamber of Commerce had decided to launch a similar campaign.

Compare the two videos below.


The 1950s version is filled with interesting allegories: “foundation of our system”, “threatening waves”, “train-loads of taxes”, “tax dollar vacuum cleaner”. Also, while the cartoon style is light-hearted, it’s actually a pretty stern warning.


On the other hand, the 2010 version looks like a mutual fund commercial. It is also entirely positive, with only one mention of the need for “Responsible Economic Policies”.

1950s Print ads (Download PDF here)

2010 Banner near White House

2010 Print ad


One response to “Visual Capitalism

  1. Did you ever look at the election posters that the CDU used in West Germany in the 50’s? They are selling capitalism vs shortages and socialism of the SPD. I have a picture of one somewhere…

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