|Looters know only looting, not wealth creation and prosperity|
Just finished a fascinating op-ed at Bloomberg by Virginia Postrel. Postrel points to Obummer's several-weeks-ago "you didn't build that!" statement and the history that belies it; particularly as it pertains to research and discussion in the book “Bourgeois Dignity”.
“Bourgeois Dignity” traces centuries-spanning positive changes in attitude toward entrepreneurial endeavors (my layman interpretation) and that this societal change in attitude may account for the incredible increase in standard of living for developed nations that we enjoy today...
“Bourgeois Dignity” is both the title of a recent book by the economic historian Deirdre N. McCloskey and, she argues, the attitude that accounts for the biggest story in economic history: the explosion of growth that took northern Europeans and eventually the world from living on about $3 a day, give or take a dollar or two (in today’s buying power), to the current global average of $30 -- and much higher in developed nations. (McCloskey’s touchstone is Norway’s $137 a day, second only to tiny Luxembourg’s.)
That change, she argues, is way too big to be explained by normal economic behavior, however rational, disciplined or efficient. Hence the book’s subtitle: “Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World.”
Creative destruction became not only accepted but also encouraged, as did individual enterprise. “What made us rich,” she writes, “was a new rhetoric that was favorable to unbounded innovation, imagination, alertness, persuasion, originality, with individual rewards often paid in a coin of honor or thankfulness -- not individual accumulation restlessly stirring, or mere duty to a calling, which are ancient and routine and uncreative.”
Postrel closes her piece as thus and though she doesn't explicitly tie her closing into the Looter-in-Chief's Freudian "you didn't build that!" slip, she doesn't even need to:
McCloskey’s book is not only a useful survey of how scholars answer the biggest question in economics: What causes growth? It is also a timely reminder that prosperity depends on more than effort or resources or infrastructure or good laws. Attitudes matter, too. You don’t build a wealthy society by deriding bourgeois enterprise -- or the people who take pride in it.
Read Virginia Postrel's entire piece here.