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The 99 and the 1

Tinka123 2012/05/11 15:00:20

The 99 and the 1


Mises Daily:
Friday, May 11, 2012
by

"We are the 99%!" This slogan of the Occupy Wall Street protesters
has been called the most memorable quote of the past year. Those who
rally to its cry do so in opposition to the villainous 1%.


For a handful of the protesters, being a member of the 1% means being
a wealthy recipient of a government bailout, or some other form of
corporate welfare. But for the economic egalitarians in their ranks, it
simply means being too rich. They say the wealthiest 1% of the country
are getting more than their fair share of the wealth in society, at the
expense of the 99%.


Whatever one thinks of the current plight of the 99%, throughout
almost all of history, things were much worse for the vast majority of
the population. In precapitalist ages, the average member of the
economic 99%, if lucky enough to survive infancy, was consigned to a
life of back-breaking work and poverty, constantly on the verge of
famine, disease, and death.


The only individuals who did not have such a wretched life were the
"1%" of old. This economic 1% was virtually identical with the state. It
was made up of the French kings, the English lords, the Roman senators,
the Egyptian viziers, and the Sumerian temple priests. The members of
this elite lived in Olympian splendor: servants at their beck and call,
as much food as they could possibly want, spacious homes, an abundance
of jewelry, and a tremendous amount of leisure time.


And of course, this lifestyle was borne on the backs of the masses.
It was the 99% who produced the bread that stuffed the mouths of the 1%,
who felled the trees to erect their mansions, and who mined the
precious metals and stones to adorn their bodies.


Everything the Occupy Wall Street protesters say today about the 99%
and the 1% was completely accurate then. Wealth in society was a pie of a
certain fixed size. The bigger the slice of pie that the 1% took for
themselves, the less was left over for the 99%. Every bit of luxury the
1% enjoyed was taken from resources that could have made some member of
the 99% less miserable.


Why did the 99% of old put up with the 1% lording it over them? Why
did they not rise up, and overthrow their masters? Were they simply
cowed by the mailed fists and the flashing sabers?


No; as David Hume pointed out, since "those who are ruled" always
vastly outnumber "those who rule," a regime's power can never be about
brute strength alone. The ruled many must believe that the power of the
ruling few is somehow good for them.


Perhaps the temple priests have convinced the people that the gods
would be angry if the rulers were disobeyed: that the rains won't come,
and the crops won't grow. Or maybe the populace believes that the rulers
are responsible for the peace and order in society.


Not only do the 99% put up with the ruling 1%; they put them up on their lofty pedestals. The 99% give the 1% their power.


As Ludwig von Mises made clear, real power, what he called
"ideological might," always lies in the support of public opinion. If
public opinion were ever to turn on any regime, its days would be
numbered.


Mises went even further to argue that public opinion not only
determines who is in charge but the general character of the legal
order, or as he put it, "whether there is freedom or bondage."


Ultimately the only kind of tyranny that can last is a tyrannical public opinion.



The struggle for freedom is ultimately not resistance to autocrats or
oligarchs but resistance to the despotism of public opinion.[1]



If the 99% are oppressed, they are also ultimately their own oppressors, by dint of oppressive public opinion.


So that explains the political situation of the old order (and all
orders, for that matter). What about the economic situation? Why did the
"economic pie" so rarely get bigger?


One would think that over time, people would get more efficient at
producing things, and so living standards would improve. Yet, for
millennia, things hardly got better at all.


The roots of this economic state of affairs are to be found in the political order described above.


Again, throughout most of the history of civilization, the ruling 1%
took for itself a huge portion of what the 99% produced. And if any
private person ever accumulated enough wealth for it to be noticeable,
some potentate would snatch that too. This is why buried treasure was
all the rage wherever princes were particularly grasping.


With such rampant government confiscation, there was never enough
incentive for large-scale capital accumulation. Without large-scale
capital accumulation, there can be no mass production. And without mass
production, there can be no great improvements in the lives of the
masses.


And that is basically why the 99% had such shabby lives for almost all of history.


Then in the 18th and 19th centuries, something revolutionary
happened. A group of philosophers started thinking very carefully about
property, trade, prices, and production. These philosophers were called
"economists."


From considering the economic laws they discovered, the economists
concluded that society is much more productive if private property is
more consistently respected. "Laissez faire et laissez passer,"
the economists said. Let people control as much of their property as
completely as possible, and everybody will be more prosperous.


These economic philosophers, people like Richard Cantillon, Adam Smith, and J.B. Say, were theorists. They wrote brilliant, if sometimes turgid, books that changed the minds of communicators: individuals whom F.A. Hayek called "secondhand dealers of ideas."


These included professional communicators: writers, like
Richard Cobden, and speakers, like John Bright. These writers and
speakers wrote pamphlets and gave speeches that changed the minds of
many thoughtful, if less eloquent, individuals, who might be called amateur communicators.
And this thoughtful stratum, in turn, led their nonthoughtful fellows
(who, in modern parlance might be called "sheeple") to change their
positions on public affairs.


Through this process, public opinion shifted toward the belief that
government should be as limited as possible, and property rights as
sacrosanct as possible: toward a doctrine called "liberalism."


Again, the way society is organized ultimately depends on public
opinion. So, since public opinion changed, policy changed too. Private
capital became more secure. Trade restrictions were lifted. Business
barriers were abolished. Private property reigned supreme as never
before.


And the results were miraculous. As never before in history, the
productive energies of humanity were unleashed. Items that were once
reserved for the elite 1% were soon mass produced for the 99%. Amenities
that did not even exist before were developed, first for small markets,
but ultimately for the mass market.


The production of bare necessities soared. The population in the
parts of the world touched by liberalism exploded. Marginal people who
otherwise would have died found subsistence. People who otherwise would
have lived on the edge of disaster found security. And those who
otherwise would have been mired all their days in prosaic drudgery were
able to lead lives of comfort and refinement.


In the new order there was still a 99% and a 1%. But the 99% of this
period lived better than the 1% of times past. And the chief way to
ascend to the 1% was to become a successful capitalist-entrepreneur: to
strive to serve the 99% (the masses of consumers) better than one's competitors.


In the old order, most would-be one-percenters, in order to get ahead
in life, would have had to apply their smarts and ambition to become
conquerors, rulers, and government administrators, and in those roles to
exploit the masses. In the new order, under what Mises called
the "consumer sovereignty" of the market, their capabilities were turned
toward providing for the masses of sovereign consumers.


The masters became servants: wealthy servants, but servants nonetheless.


The liberal ideological revolution had engendered an Industrial
Revolution. And what Mises called the "Age of Liberalism" lasted from
1815 to 1914: a golden century in which mankind first got an inkling of
what it was really capable of.


Tragically, the Age of Liberalism was ended by an ideological
counterrevolution: a wave of statist thinking that is responsible for
all the woes of the 20th century, as well as our present economic and
geopolitical crises.


Now, the 99%, under the thrall of unsound ideas, are once again
oppressing themselves. Thanks to the calamitous state of public opinion,
the ranks of the 1% are once again increasingly being filled, not by
capitalist-entrepreneurs serving the 99%, but by the state and its
cronies exploiting and impoverishing the 99%. And the redistributionist
remedies that the self-styled 99% clamor for would only accelerate this
trend.


If our civilization is to be rescued — if the tide of public opinion
is ever to turn again — it will be thanks to the sound ideas formulated
by theorists like Mises and the scholars who work in his tradition. But
that can only happen if those ideas are effectively disseminated by a
new generation of communicators.

For more:

http://mises.org/daily/6035/The-99-and-the-1

--Your thoughts?


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  • ComeOnNow 2012/05/30 18:48:59
    ComeOnNow
    First off, you need to lose the broad streak 1% argument. Greed sure does not start with the first $250,000. Most in the 1% are your salt of the earth business owners. That is a trumped up argument designed to divert attention from the real issue. The deal issue is big government. The bigger the government the more corruption there is. Without corrupt and powerful government, the 1% can not change laws in their favor. The ironic part is that those complaining the most about the 1% are the same ones rooting for big goverent. Doesn't it only make sense that if the government controls everything that only the politically connected can succeed and that the middle class is what gets screwed? Under socialism, the 1% is fine. They are politically connected. What socialism destroys is innovation, new businesses that are the economy of the future, and opportunity. All of which are destroyed with socialism. I am not a Romney fan but at least he is trying to lessen government power, while Obama has tried to exert power on every aspect of our lives and economy. Let's face it, Obama is corrupt too. The more power he and other government officials have,, the more corruption there is. The only answer is a smaller and more responsible government that treats every citizen and every business eq...
    First off, you need to lose the broad streak 1% argument. Greed sure does not start with the first $250,000. Most in the 1% are your salt of the earth business owners. That is a trumped up argument designed to divert attention from the real issue. The deal issue is big government. The bigger the government the more corruption there is. Without corrupt and powerful government, the 1% can not change laws in their favor. The ironic part is that those complaining the most about the 1% are the same ones rooting for big goverent. Doesn't it only make sense that if the government controls everything that only the politically connected can succeed and that the middle class is what gets screwed? Under socialism, the 1% is fine. They are politically connected. What socialism destroys is innovation, new businesses that are the economy of the future, and opportunity. All of which are destroyed with socialism. I am not a Romney fan but at least he is trying to lessen government power, while Obama has tried to exert power on every aspect of our lives and economy. Let's face it, Obama is corrupt too. The more power he and other government officials have,, the more corruption there is. The only answer is a smaller and more responsible government that treats every citizen and every business equally. Big government so clearly failed in every way in Europe and those are the same failed big government policies that Obama and the democrats are pushing. The republicans sure have not been great at this, but are by far the lesser of the two evils. At least the tea party is putting far more responsible people in office and holding republicans feet to the fire. It is at least moving in the right direction. The democrats are clearly running in the wrong direction.
    (more)
  • Tinka123 ComeOnNow 2012/05/30 19:08:17
    Tinka123
    +1
    You didn't read the whole article, did you? I know the problem is big govt.
  • rustyshackelford 2012/05/11 23:36:18
  • Mrs. V 2012/05/11 23:29:34
    Mrs. V
    +2
    The slogan has roots in the Nazi movement. They called the Jews the 1% and themselves the 99%.
  • templer003 2012/05/11 23:19:18
    templer003
    +4
    Spot on for the people with working brains,,,,
  • uguess 2012/05/11 20:53:08
  • Bozette 2012/05/11 20:11:42
    Bozette
    +10
    The article is spot on. The government and the 1% are all too aware of this and have very effectively used the media to formulate the public opinion they needed to achieve their ends. Now, thanks to the internet and the freely available information that abounds through its use, more are waking up...hence the government''s fixation on controlling the internet. Control the information, control the people.

    With free-market capitalism comes prosperity to the 99%. Unfortunately, what we have today is crony capitalism wherein the state and big business work together to stifle the truly free market. We pay for this in many ways. Small businesses are eaten up or forced out, not because they can't compete, but because big business gets regulations favorable to it and unfavorable to its competition enacted through their lobbying and campaign dollars. We also pay for it in cures and treatments that never make it through the research and approval process. After all, big pharma is pretty much running the FDA's drug division and cures are not profitable.

    Excellent poll, Tinka.
  • U-Dog 2012/05/11 19:45:48
    U-Dog
    +8
    It is an excellent article Tinka, thanks for sharing. I have been saying this in a cruder, less articulated form for years and Mr. Sanchez put the words to my thoughts perfectly.
    19th century royalty did not have the wealth, health or conveniences that modern westerners are surrounded by today and yet most of the modern over A/C'ed sheople are too blind and ignorant to appreciate any of it. All their envious rotten little minds can think of is more, more, more and mama birdie is suppose to fly in somehow someway to fill their squalling little mouths.
  • lee 2012/05/11 17:30:37
    lee
    so we should all just be grateful we still have jobs and drink a big cup of STFU?

    is that your point?

    spoken like a tru shill for the 1%
  • Tinka123 lee 2012/05/11 17:41:21
    Tinka123
    +7
    You reassigned a comment to me that I did not make, only to attack the comment I did not make. Straw man? That's it? You can do better.
  • lee Tinka123 2012/05/11 17:43:13
    lee
    here is your strawman...

    Whatever one thinks of the current plight of the 99%, throughout
    almost all of history, things were much worse for the vast majority of
    the population. In precapitalist ages, the average member of the
    economic 99%, if lucky enough to survive infancy, was consigned to a
    life of back-breaking work and poverty, constantly on the verge of
    famine, disease, and death.
  • Tinka123 lee 2012/05/11 19:00:32
    Tinka123
    +8
    So you've no thought of your own on the matter?

    Are you suggesting that the average person flourished in Medieval times? lol
  • lee Tinka123 2012/05/11 21:07:26
    lee
    no Im suggesting you want to take us back there...
  • Tinka123 lee 2012/05/11 21:09:15
    Tinka123
    +7
    And you base such a conclusion on what?
  • lee Tinka123 2012/05/11 21:10:30 (edited)
    lee
    5 pg rant about how good we have it now.
  • Tinka123 lee 2012/05/11 21:59:58
    Tinka123
    +9
    This is an article posted from the Mises Institute. lol Thanks for inadvertently confessing to not reading the article. This article speaks of how bad it was then, not the other way around.
  • lee Tinka123 2012/05/11 22:04:57
    lee
    all better.
  • Tinka123 lee 2012/05/11 22:14:49
    Tinka123
    +6
    Come again?
  • lee Tinka123 2012/05/11 22:29:04
    lee
    corrected my confussion over the rant you posted...

    it is attempting to convince us that things are soo much better now, so we should just be happy things are not worse...

    well, I'm not going to settle for THAT.

    thing could be a LOT better, and will be, once we get conservativs away from the levers of power in this country.
  • Tinka123 lee 2012/05/11 22:46:35
    Tinka123
    +10
    No - it's not attempting to convince you things are better now. lol

    Pretty sure that's why it refers to our current situation as a "geopolitical crisis."

    Maybe you should just read the article? There is nothing about conservatives in the article. In fact, it lauds "liberalism" as being responsible for the greatest advances of the human race. lol
  • templer003 Tinka123 2012/05/11 23:14:58
    templer003
    +3
    Hey Tinka, ya have to remember that Lee is one of ' those " people from California....
  • Tinka123 templer003 2012/05/12 00:58:54
    Tinka123
    +5
    lol One has to wonder.
  • templer003 Tinka123 2012/05/12 21:27:38
    templer003
    Aye there doesn't appear to be that many brain cells working on his end..
  • COMALite J lee 2012/05/12 00:32:48 (edited)
    COMALite J
    +1
    Yes, but what actually changed that? When was the first time in world history that there was a sizable (outnumbering the poor / paupers / peasantry) and prosperous Middle Class? When was the Middle Class in the USA at its height?

    The 1950s through early 1960s, right?

    Now look up the top marginal tax rate on the wealthy during that period. It was over 90% !!

    Redistribution of wealth works .

    OWS does get one thing wrong: it’s not the 99% vs. the 1%.

    It’s the 99.9998% vs. the 0.0002%!

    There are ~300 million people in the USA. 300,000,000. To make the math easier, let’s assume that a third of those, 100 million, are either children, institutionalized, or otherwise not active participants in the economy. That leaves 200 million. 200,000,000.

    If OWS is right, then two million people are evil wealthy fatcats. That is not the case. Most (mainly the bottom) of the two million of the 1% are the true “job creators” as well as sports heroes, movie starts and other celebrities, etc. who make honest (if overpaid for what they actually do and contribute) livings.

    A mere 400 people actually make fully ½ of the wealth increase in this nation. 400 out of 200 million !

    That’s not 1%. It’s not even 0.1% (1‰) — that would be 200,000.
    It’s not even 0.01% (1% of the 1% !) — that would be 20,000.
    It’s not even ...



    Yes, but what actually changed that? When was the first time in world history that there was a sizable (outnumbering the poor / paupers / peasantry) and prosperous Middle Class? When was the Middle Class in the USA at its height?

    The 1950s through early 1960s, right?

    Now look up the top marginal tax rate on the wealthy during that period. It was over 90%!!

    Redistribution of wealth works.

    OWS does get one thing wrong: it’s not the 99% vs. the 1%.

    It’s the 99.9998% vs. the 0.0002%!

    There are ~300 million people in the USA. 300,000,000. To make the math easier, let’s assume that a third of those, 100 million, are either children, institutionalized, or otherwise not active participants in the economy. That leaves 200 million. 200,000,000.

    If OWS is right, then two million people are evil wealthy fatcats. That is not the case. Most (mainly the bottom) of the two million of the 1% are the true “job creators” as well as sports heroes, movie starts and other celebrities, etc. who make honest (if overpaid for what they actually do and contribute) livings.

    A mere 400 people actually make fully ½ of the wealth increase in this nation. 400 out of 200 million!

    That’s not 1%. It’s not even 0.1% (1‰) — that would be 200,000.
    It’s not even 0.01% (1% of the 1%!) — that would be 20,000.
    It’s not even 0.001%(1‰ of the 1%) — that would still be 2,000.
    0.0001% would be 200, so we need to double that to 0.0002% to equal 400.
    That’s 2‰ or 0.2% of the 1%!

    49,999 out of every 50,000 of the “1%” should actually be on OWS’s side, and many of them probably would be if OWS wasn’t alienating them and making them out to be the villains! The real villains are ripping them off, too!
    (more)
  • lee COMALite J 2012/05/12 16:26:21
    lee
    you make a damn fine point.

    but I don't think the 1,999,600 or so of the 1% should be so touchy... they are closer to the problem than anyone...they should be hitting UP, not DOWN.

    if they are seen doing that, they get mad props from the 99%... can you say Buffet?
  • COMALite J lee 2012/05/18 05:28:23
    COMALite J
    Precisely my point. OWS has alienated those 1,999,600 who should be on their side, by casting it as 99% vs. 1%.

    Most of the 400 (0.0002%) (and some just under the 400, who are seeking to achieve that strata) are hedge fund investors, and/or worse, derivatives traders. They don’t produce anything. They don’t create jobs. They simply move money around in such a way that much of it accumulates to them, money that they did not earn in any way.

    In the case of the derivatives, it’s not even real money! It has the effect on the economy as if it were, but it’s notional value is blown all out of proportion to its actual value. The notional value of the derivatives market is several times the combined wealth of the entire planet! This is the real cause of the global economic collapse we very nearly had in 2008, and the impending economic collapses in the Eurozone, most U.S. States. Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, even Social Security, the U.S. military, etc. are all merely drops in the bucket compared to the hundreds of trillions in the notional value of derivatives!
  • lee COMALite J 2012/05/18 16:24:16
    lee
    Are you Paul Krugman?

    :)
  • COMALite J lee 2012/05/18 22:29:35
    COMALite J
    No. ☺
  • BrianD3 2012/05/11 17:09:21
    BrianD3
    +6
    Damn fine article!!! excellent
  • Ken 2012/05/11 16:07:58
    Ken
    +6
    There are a couple of other things to remember:

    In 2002, the average income per person world wide was $7,880. In the US, the average income per person was $31,481 or 4 times higher than the world average. Unfortunately, I don't have distribution figures for world income but 1% of US households make more than $250K or about 100K/person....this leads me to suspect someone with more than 25,000 in income is among the 1% of the world's population.

    My father used to say I would rather live as a working man in the US, than as a king in the middle ages....because the king in the middle ages could not afford central heat while most working men in today's America have central heat. He was saying this to demonstrate how redistributing the wealth more uniformly increased the quality of life for the wealthy as well as the poor. Pointing out how for all their wealth, the kings of middle ages didn't have many of the luxuries available to the common man in 1960....luxuries which were only available because of the mass market....and mass markets were only available because America had turned its workers into the middle class.
  • FeedFwd... Ken 2012/05/11 17:08:39
    FeedFwd ~POTL
    +4
    I hope he wasn't implying forced redistribution of wealth. It is strong property rights that make it worthwhile for people to create wealth which naturally leads to an uncoerced redistribution of wealth. And a larger pie to draw on. That was the point, after all!
  • Ken FeedFwd... 2012/05/11 17:26:12
    Ken
    +4
    Absolutely not....he wasn't even advocating the redistribution of wealth....he was strictly observing the consequence of wealth redistribution...he also had an agenda of teaching his children that giving generously and helping others succeed was the path to a good life .... accumulating wealth and power was a burden and hurt the individual who successfully accumulated wealth and power as much as those they took it from.
  • Ken FeedFwd... 2012/05/11 23:09:51
    Ken
    +1
    I recalled my fathers lesson recently when I saw Daniel Gross on the "Daily Ticker" and read his blog entitled "The Myth of American Decline". Dan argues that although America is much better off than it was in 2008 with exports growing at 45% on a monthly basis and manufacturing jobs growing for the first time in recent history.

    Because this resembles my own experience, I listened when I heard Dan on PBS. In this interview with Terry Gross, he suggested the reason many Americans do not feel as well off is because of the growth in countries like Brazil, China, and India. Indeed these countries are catching up...and Dan says this is wonderful because ..."When people around the world get rich, they want to buy our junk."
  • Ken FeedFwd... 2012/05/11 23:29:19
    Ken
    Now that I have explained the basics....perhaps you will want to study American history and discover how economic performance of this country, i.e., growing the pie has corresponded to wealth distribution. The correlation between high concentration of wealth/income with economic catastrophes is rather fascinating. How we should react is less clear but wise men, e.g., Warren Buffet, understand the relationship .... that is why he is willing to pay higher taxes. Not out of the goodness of his heart but out of a desire to avoid the potential downside for himself and his family.
  • Tinka123 Ken 2012/05/12 01:04:46
    Tinka123
    +3
    If he is willing to pay higher taxes, why is he fighting the govt. over nearly $1 Billion in back taxes (from 2002 on) owed by Berkshire Hathaway?
  • Ken Tinka123 2012/05/12 01:30:24
    Ken
    He has a fiduciary responsibility.
  • Tinka123 Ken 2012/05/12 02:29:06 (edited)
    Tinka123
    +2
    To the same folks that *now declare it will be resolved within the year. Yeah - I know.
  • FeedFwd... Ken 2012/05/14 21:08:52 (edited)
    FeedFwd ~POTL
    +1
    I have studied American history. Correlation is not evidence of causality. I would argue that wealth creation is the product of strong private property rights and freedom to succeed or fail on your own merits. When property rights are well protected and people are free to reach for the brass ring, then there will be a lot of people out there trying to build a better mousetrap. Some will succeed and some will fail. Some successes will be greater than others in terms of economic wealth creation. This inevitably leads to a more natural and even distribution of wealth, although there will still be rich and poor. The wealthy can always try to buy advantages. Only the government can provide the kind of advantages that lead to a high concentration of wealth. Your example of warren Buffett is flawed. He can always voluntarily overpay his taxes. He doesn't because like most people, he realizes that he can create more wealth and do more good by husbanding his wealth than by letting some faceless government bureaucrat have access to it. There is also some correlation that suggests that the more government redistributes wealth, the more skewing of the distribution occurs.

    I do agree that envy is partly to blame for the misery people see. The media including the Internet, make it ea...
    I have studied American history. Correlation is not evidence of causality. I would argue that wealth creation is the product of strong private property rights and freedom to succeed or fail on your own merits. When property rights are well protected and people are free to reach for the brass ring, then there will be a lot of people out there trying to build a better mousetrap. Some will succeed and some will fail. Some successes will be greater than others in terms of economic wealth creation. This inevitably leads to a more natural and even distribution of wealth, although there will still be rich and poor. The wealthy can always try to buy advantages. Only the government can provide the kind of advantages that lead to a high concentration of wealth. Your example of warren Buffett is flawed. He can always voluntarily overpay his taxes. He doesn't because like most people, he realizes that he can create more wealth and do more good by husbanding his wealth than by letting some faceless government bureaucrat have access to it. There is also some correlation that suggests that the more government redistributes wealth, the more skewing of the distribution occurs.

    I do agree that envy is partly to blame for the misery people see. The media including the Internet, make it easy to observe what the good life looks like. We have created a set of expectations that anybody can get rich quick without doing anything except being a good athlete or performer or coming up with some hot new software app or winning the lottrery. When you are struggling to make ends meet and see others with conspoicuous wealth, it is only natural to become envious. But when that envy is channeled into destructive behavior, we all suffer. And the more regimented and regulated we become, the harder it becomes to succeed on your own merits.
    (more)
  • Ken FeedFwd... 2012/05/15 03:29:06
    Ken
    +1
    I have a subtle difference with you....wealth creation is not the product of strong property rights....it comes from the opportunity to own your means of production. When America was being settled, Europe had strong property rights. If someone killed one of the king's deer, they were executed. A noble who inherited a farm but didn't know how to farm was still entitled to collect and gamble away most of what the farmers on his land produced....this contributed to some of the most talented people in the world leaving Europe and coming to America where they had the opportunity to own their own farm and didn't need to listen to the nobles who owned virtually all the land in Europe other than that owned by the Churches.

    So to me American success occurred because of the American dream which was and is "In this new land every person may own and master their own labor and means of production and so even if all they have is their own two hand, with industry they will quickly grow rich" to paraphrase Captain John Smith's words promoting European immigration to America. This was tempered by the awareness that "Virtue is not hereditary .... neither is it perpetual" so eloquently stated by Tom Paine. American's have always believed that a person is entitled to own that which they can master...and should have an equal opportunity to own what they can master regardless of what their parents may have accomplished.
  • FeedFwd... Ken 2012/05/15 18:42:45
    FeedFwd ~POTL
    I understand what you are saying. Perhaps it would be better to say that strong property rights are necessary, but not sufficient.

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