Monday, August 20, 2012

- This Should Be A Love Letter

In one my my posts a few months ago, I was trying to sooth the overactive nerves of the 'preppers' by explaining to them that America will NEVER be a post apocalyptic wasteland.

The reason for this is why we're wealthy in the first place, while a place like Sierra Leone is not - we know how to do things that will build wealth, and they don't. That knowledge is our real wealth. And so long as you have that knowledge, then someone somewhere will be willing to pay your for it. No one can ever take that knowledge from you and redistribute it - even if, like our current president, they desperately want to. It's that seemingly insubstantial thing that is the real wealth of America.

Here is George Gilder explaining that very same thing with more verbal grace than I ever could:

America’s wealth is not an inventory of goods; it is an organic entity, a fragile pulsing fabric of ideas, expectations, loyalties, moral commitments, visions. To vivisect it for redistribution is to kill it. As President Mitterrand’s French technocrats discovered in the 1980s, and President Obama’s quixotic ecocrats are discovering today, government managers of complex systems of wealth soon find they are administering an industrial corpse, a socialized Solyndra.

All riches must finally fall into the gap between thoughts and things. Governed by mind but caught in matter, assets must afford an income stream that is expected to continue. The expectation may shift as swiftly as thought, but things, alas, are all too solid and slow to change. The kaleidoscope of shifting valuations, flashing gains and losses as it is turned in the hands of time, in the grip of “news,” distributes and redistributes the wealth of the world far more quickly and surely than any scheme of the state.

The belief that wealth consists not chiefly in ideas, attitudes, moral codes, and mental disciplines but in definable static things that can be seized and redistributed — that is the materialist superstition. It stultified the works of Marx and other prophets of violence and envy. It betrays every person who seeks to redistribute wealth by coercion. It balks every socialist revolutionary who imagines that by seizing the so-called means of production he can capture the crucial capital of an economy. It baffles nearly every conglomerateur who believes he can safely enter new industries by buying rather than by learning them. It confounds every bureaucrat of science who imagines he can buy or steal the fruits of research and development.

Even if it wished to, the government could not capture America’s wealth from its 1 percent of the 1 percent. As Marxist despots and tribal socialists from Cuba to Greece have discovered to their huge disappointment, governments can neither create wealth nor effectively redistribute it. They can only expropriate and watch it dissipate. If we continue to harass, overtax, and oppressively regulate entrepreneurs, our liberal politicians will be shocked and horrified to discover how swiftly the physical tokens of the means of production dissolve into so much corroded wire, abandoned batteries, scrap metal, and wasteland rot.

Capitalism is the supreme expression of human creativity and freedom, an economy of mind overcoming the constraints of material power. It is not simply a practical success, a “worst of all systems except for the rest of them,” a faute de mieux compromise redeemed by charities and regulators and proverbially “saved by the New Deal.” It is dynamic, a force that pushes human enterprise down spirals of declining costs and greater abundance. The cost of capturing technology is mastery of the underlying science. The means of production of entrepreneurs are not land, labor, or capital but minds and hearts. Enduring are only the contributions of mind and morality.

All progress comes from the creative minority. Under capitalism, wealth is less a stock of goods than a flow of ideas, the defining characteristic of which is surprise. Creativity is the foundation of wealth. As Princeton economist Albert Hirschman has put it, “creativity always comes as a surprise to us.” If it were not surprising, we could plan it, and socialism would work. Joseph Schumpeter propounded the basic rule when he declared capitalism “a form of change” that “never can be stationary.” The landscape of capitalism may seem solid and settled and something that can be captured; but capitalism is really a noosphere, a mindscape, as empty in proportion to the nuggets at its nucleus as the expanse of the solar system in relation to the sun.

Believe it or not, there are 4 more pages of equally elegant prose at the link.

I'm a great fan of the book "Chance or The Dance" which is a criticism of modern secularism. If you read the reviews on amazon (or pretty much anywhere else) you'd probably be convinced it has something to do with Christianity but it doesn't really. In fact, to my poor recollection I don't think the author mentions Christ or Christians except in passing, anywhere in the book.

What the author is actually trying to do is to point to a fundamental human truth that supersedes religion. It's (potentially) the thing that the religious may see through the lens of their faith, but it's a truth that is much more fundamental than that. And he describes this truth with such grace that's it's all but impossible to avoid getting his point.

This little piece from NR strikes me as the same kind of thing.


Chess said...

An entrepeneur can hold an idea in their heads for only so long.We have lived through 4 yrs of that holding.If we get fomo they will still hold their ideas because BHO will only get worse with no re election to run for again.Thats alot of pent up spirit waiting to get out an see "light".Fomo of regs and alot of those lights will never come to fruition.Thats our loss.
This is an excellent piece on why BHO MUST GO.

chess said...

Tom..Ikaika.Frith. You can choose not to answer but you all are valued members of society and what I call worker bees. You are producers.
What have you done in the past 4 years that you might do differently if we get R&R for the next 4? Just wondering?

Chess said...

Since Tom is trying to get some R&R while contemplating R&R and Frith is still undercover here is something to read concerning team Obama wanting to eats its young

ikaika said...

What have you done in the past 4 years that you might do differently if we get R&R for the next 4? Just wondering?

Hopefully - pay less taxes.
I don't really limit or predict the outcome of productivity because of a political or idealogical ascension.
In my busines - you tend to go where you get paid - regardless of who is the POTUS.
Now the people that employ me have a different exposure since they have insurance and taxation to consider.

Hussein and Co place a damper on productivity and force the investment community at-large into a defensive posture. It affects a lot of businesses when you have corporate bean counters and lawyers trying to predict where the governemnt will hurt them next.
It reminded me of Elliot Spitzer becoming Gov of NY.

Romney - Ryan would remove a lot of the stress that some kooky left-wing proclamation will emerge to destroy an entire industry.
Again - as an individual I would do whatever it takes to survive; I rarely take a defensive protective posture like a large corporation.

The large corporations that move and shake Wall St will take precautions based on politics that ultimately affect all of us.

Chess said...

Ikaika thanx. Especially the part bout Elliot..When will someone drive a stake in that cold heart and finish him forever.
I believe True Blood calls its the true death/.