The World Has Lots More” Now What? IV

Never in human history has the average human had “More.” Capitalism if left alone to continue to work its magic promises to bring even “More” to everyone allowed to participate. Only where economies are increasingly run by top-down dictates is the human condition deteriorating. Yet as we have seen this highway to more is threatened both at home and abroad. Even China where allowing capitalism rum a major part of its economy brought a billion people out of abject poverty is reasserting top-down control. No wonder its growth rate is slowing in line with every turn of the screw. We know where this leads, increasing oppression and, of course, “Less.” At home, we have a large part of our populous favorable to socialism and outright hostility to capitalism. To understand this strange reaction to a system that has provided everyone with far “More” than our forebearers ever dreamed possible, Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) gave us some insight. The economist popularized the phrase “Creative Destruction” to describe the dynamics of market capitalism and how its disruptive the forces of innovation undermined norms. With the widespread change, some suffer near term loss but overall most gained. He lauded the entrepreneurial spirit of the capitalists, but thought the loss of equilibrium would cause socialism to win out in the end. He based this on the hostility of intellectuals on one hand and workers on the other. He couldn’t have been more wrong. As we’ve shown, socialism and every other top-down system have proven to be an utter disaster. As it turns out the equilibrium under these systems is upset but not in a good way. However, this hasn’t quashed the hostility among many intellectuals and workers.

Today’s intellectuals are the direct descendants of the small number of literate elites topping the heap all over the world for all those centuries prior to 15th. Whatever “More” there was to have belonged to them. They were the military leaders, the governors, the lawmakers and keepers, the bureaucrats running most everything, the repositories of whatever passed for knowledge and the intermediaries to the gods. The vast majority of humanity was just dust beneath their feet. The uncouth deplorables were put on earth to serve their betters. They only suffered merchants and artisans to provide them with the good things of life. They were the top of the human pyramid. The commercial class had to kowtow and often bribe these officials in order to survive. This still exists but much more muted in liberal capitalist countries. As commerce grew and entrepreneurs prospered, the intelligentsia had to share power and place. They are not happy.

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