Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture. He is available for speaking and interviews via his email. Tw | FB | LinkedIn
Jeffrey A. Tucker
Articles from Jeffrey A. Tucker
The net effect of all of this has been to ruin our bathrooms. You might not realize it because the change has been slow, extending over 25 years. Only by encountering a bathroom with original fixtures from the 1940s can you perceive the full horror of what has happened. Our showers are lame, our toilets don’t work, our pipes are dirty, and everything is less sanitary. Chalk it up as yet another thing that government has ruined.
The continued popularity of the cast-iron skillet illustrates a point. The purpose of technology is not to be new. It is not to complicate your life. It is not to do something never done before. It is not to confound, confuse, or disorient. The purpose of technology is to make your life better than it is. In this case, technology can come from any age, even the ancient world. As the slogan of Lodge pan company says, iron is forever.
The Trump administration is truly the impossible presidency. Donald was never supposed to win. He didn’t believe he would win. When he did, he did something that absolutely no one could have predicted: he didn’t become anything we have associated with being president, ever. He refused to be anything but Trump. As a result, a century or two of protocols, rituals, pomps, decorum, and presidential seriouso – the entire apparatus of governing as the head of the world’s largest and most powerful state – are being dismantled. And think of it: it has barely begun.
What has gone completely missing here is a burning philosophical and ideological dispute between two wings of Trumpism. One seethes with right-wing Hegelian longings for an overthrow of the modern world and a resuscitation of tribalist nationalism (in short, fascism). The other is quasi-liberal at its best, seeking mostly to get government off our backs and unleash merchant-driven enterprise and economic recovery.
What would the cryptorouble bring to the table? It’s not hard to guess: some measure of control by the Russian government and central bank. We have no details yet on how the structure would work. But we can speculate. The best possible guess is that the cryptorouble would add a settlement layer to the official currency. It would enjoy the status of being legal tender. It would permit a more efficient and borderless method of transferring claims.
Consider our good fortune. A third of our lives are spent on mattresses. A solid sleep is determinative of a good life. And get this: you didn’t build that mattress. Someone else is working right now for you, in the hope that you will buy. That’s called the market at work: endless progress, a beautiful community of work, ever better quality, ever lower prices.
The last time I was in D.C. (last month) something struck me as never before. The entire place is premised on the idea that what is awesome about life is entirely physical. Massive buildings. Huge stone and marble columns. Real estate. Monuments. Everything in this not-normal city is about gigantic, imposing, intimidating structures. It's all about place and power over place. You can drive block after block and observe nothing but unimaginative and scary buildings with uniform windows. Honestly, it is awful, dreary, and...old fashioned.
A few years ago, Bernie Sanders uttered a passing comment that elicited howls of laughter among believers in competitive markets. “You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants," he said. Today, many people are saying the same thing about cryptocurrencies. Why so many? What's the point? Why not one only or, actually, what not just stick with the dollar? The point is that we need a rivalrous process with free entry to discover the better way to do money. And we need this process to run forever.
For centuries, for millennia, we’ve relied on government to stop invasions of person and property. We live more safely than ever before, thanks to market-based technological improvements, not reliance on government. It was once believed that only government could provide security; this debate dates back centuries. Now we learn otherwise. We get security from the same source that provides us food, clothing, and shelter: the matrix of voluntary exchange and free exercise of human creativity.
Nobody should celebrate a system of money and finance in which government controls the on-ramps and off-ramps based on political loyalties. That’s proven to be a very dangerous system. What we need is a censor-proof technology that can make prosperity possible for ever larger swaths of humanity. That’s not “evil”; it’s gloriously good.
Sombart's leftism became rightism but it was made of the same substance always: a loathing of regular people in their free choices and a longing for history to follow his own imaginings of what should be rather than what is.
Such is the core of socialist ideology: a delusion rooted in snobbery and, above all else, intellectual pretense.