Despite President Obama's best efforts to kill capitalism, it's alive and well---at least today with the widely hyped Facebook IPO.
Facebook is a rather lyrical story of economic liberty: a college kid at Harvard with extra time on his hands creates a basic social networking program so other college kids can talk to each other and share stuff online. As the program grows exponentially, the college kid refines it, graduates, and turns it into a real business. Soon, there are hundreds of thousands of users of his program; then there are millions; now there is close to one billion worldwide.
If you build it, they will come. The college kid built it, and boy, did they come. And today, the investors come. So does the real money. Billions of dollars' worth.
All investments carry inherent risk, and nobody really knows how the Facebook IPO is going to shake out, or what the future holds for the product and the company. But it's all part of the creative destruction and production of capitalism: ideas come, risks get taken, things get created, investments transpire, failures occur, so does wild success. It's all part of the wonderfully messy choreography of the free market.
The IPO is expected to raise Facebook about $16 billion in proceeds and value it at more than $100 billion. If it goes as anticipated, over 1000 people will become millionaires today, and a few new billionaires, including that college kid, Mark Zuckerberg, will be created too.
Regardless of what you think of Facebook or if you're buying some of its shares today or not or whether you even know what Facebook is, you should celebrate what it represents: American ingenuity, creativity, and innovation.
And oh yeah: capitalism. Viva economic liberty!