- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2016

President Obama told a group of young people in Argentina not to worry about the differences between capitalism and communism and “just choose from what works.”

“So often in the past there’s been a sharp division between left and right, between capitalist and communist or socialist,” the president said Wednesday during a Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative town hall meeting in Buenos Aires. “And especially in the Americas, that’s been a big debate, right? Oh, you know, you’re a capitalist Yankee dog, and oh, you know, you’re some crazy communist that’s going to take away everybody’s property.

“And I mean, those are interesting intellectual arguments, but I think for your generation, you should be practical and just choose from what works. You don’t have to worry about whether it neatly fits into socialist theory or capitalist theory — you should just decide what works,” Mr. Obama continued. “And I said this to President Castro in Cuba. I said, look, you’ve made great progress in educating young people. Every child in Cuba gets a basic education — that’s a huge improvement from where it was. Medical care — the life expectancy of Cubans is equivalent to the United States, despite it being a very poor country, because they have access to health care. That’s a huge achievement. They should be congratulated.”

The president admitted that while those policies are working in Cuba, the economy there is still failing, “and so you have to be practical in asking yourself how can you achieve the goals of equality and inclusion, but also recognize that the market system produces a lot of wealth and goods and services.”

Mr. Obama argued that most successful economies are rooted in a market-based system, but “a market does not work by itself.”

“It has to have a social and moral and ethical and community basis, and there has to be inclusion. Otherwise it’s not stable,” he said. “And it’s up to you — whether you’re in business or in academia or the nonprofit sector, whatever you’re doing — to create new forms that are adapted to the new conditions that we live in today.”

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