According to a recent article on CNN, Americans are projected to spend $2.1 billion on candy this Halloween. When you account for costumes and decorations, the projected spending skyrockets to $6.9 billion. To top it all off, in a nation of 320 million people, 64% of Americans plan on celebrating Halloween this year.
The CNN article continues by stating that 41.2 million children are anticipated to go trick-or-treating this Halloween, and that the average American will spend $74.34 on candy, costumes, and decorations. These statistics are truly amazing and illustrate how much Americans are willing to spend in order to attain social acceptance. What these statistics don’t show however is that this is all done voluntarily and without the threat of coercion from the state.
Think about it. Millions of Americans will go out of their way to voluntarily purchase $2.1 billion worth of candy and donate it to strangers who come knocking on their door. No one is forcing them to do this. The state does not force homeowners to buy candy for children, nor do they force parents to buy their children costumes. All parties involved are acting out of their own free and voluntary desire to attain something of value.
Capitalism has become such a dirty word because it is often confused with corporatism (when the state grants corporations subsidies and rids of their competition so they can grow). But by definition, capitalism is the private exchange of goods and services for the mutual benefit of each party. Halloween is such a burgeoning industry not because of the state, but because of freedom!
When the state interferes in free and private affairs, it decreases the purchasing power in an economy, and by doing this destroys economic opportunities. But when there is real consumer demand present in an economy and the parties act voluntarily, opportunities naturally present themselves and enrich the lives of everyone involved. By voluntarily purchasing Halloween candy, the cashier at the local convenience store may now have more money to go towards buying a new pair of sneakers, you will now have the trust of your neighbors for offering candy to children out of the kindness of your heart, the trick-or-treaters will now likely have more candy than their parents will buy for them all year, and parents will have the satisfaction of knowing their children are happy.
It’s a win-win for everyone and no state intervention was necessary! As you get ready to go out to a Halloween party or take your children trick-or-treating, remember to tell yourself that you are proving that the most optimum exchanges are the ones that are free and voluntary. Thank you for engaging in the perfect example of capitalism and have a safe and happy Halloween!