Paul Krugman writes:
Soros, Obama, And Me
What do we have in common? We’re all small business owners, according to Mitch McConnell. Obama and I make our business income off books — he sells the audacity of hope, Robin and I sell the misery of Econ 101; Soros makes his money off
financial destructiondirecting funds to their most productive use; but we’re all in the same category as the owner of a small factory.
Small business people? Hardly. That writing provides a limited return is not a measure of its level of consumption by a large number of customers, but a measure of how little people are willing to pay for it.
The term Mitch is looking for is not “entrepreneur” it is “[glossary:Schumpeterian Intellectuals]”: people who bring about the destruction of capitalism, the market, and the prosperity of national competitiveness by undermining both the sentiment of, and capital structure of entrepreneurship.
[callout]Then, perhaps some of us should put our capital stock of violence to better use, if in our restraint, we are disabused by men who simply take advantage of our creation – the market. It would be the optimum use of our asset.[/callout]
Unfortunately, we don’t have special taxes for Shumpeterian market destroyers like we have special taxes on entrepreneurial market creators. But we can fix that. Perhaps we should level the playing field by heavily taxing political, extra-market goods and services, and lowering taxes on apolitical intra-market goods and services? Wouldn’t that be a switch? I mean, why should the amount of income be the axis of measurement, rather than the service provided to the market? Under that measure we could confiscate all of Soros’ money, recover our losses from the bloated financial sector, and reduce the media to non-profit status, and make political writing an unprofitable exercise.
As for putting capital to a better purpose, that’s not yet proven. Soros was not participating in the market for goods and services by creating unemployment and reorganizing that capital for his use. He’s just using remunerative coercion under state protections. And extra-market remunerative coercion at that. A form of coercion made possible only by the restraint of violence by others in order to create the somewhat free market – a restraint he does not himself employ. And while that asymmetry of restraint may not be apparent to your cult of those who are incapable of holding territory and trade routes, or building an durable government, or durable institutions of calculation and cooperation, it is not lost on those of us whose ancestors have done so for a millennia or more.
It seems odd to me that so many people fail to grasp just how entertaining and enjoyable civil war is for those people who practice militial restraint – often at high personal [glossary:forgone opportunity cost]. Modern war is a ‘hell’ only for people who fight in the western model. It’s not for warriors, terrorists and raiders. We forget that the reason we cannot conquer the Afghans is in no small part because raiding and killing are actually enjoyable, entertaining, status-enhancing pass times among practitioners. And creating markets and property rights, and philosophy and econometrics, is a poor substitute.
Then, perhaps some of us should put our capital stock of violence to better use, if in our restraint, we are disabused by men who simply take advantage of our creation – the market. It would be the optimum use of our asset.
Or those who put their financial capital stock, or political capital stock to such extra-market or Schumpeterian Intellectual purposes, could pay the opportunity cost of restraint, so that we do not have put our stock of violence to extra-market uses. So that we can continue to devote our energies to the proxy of entrepreneurship instead of the more enjoyable and rewarding uses of our capital stock of violence. Why should we simply transfer our capital at a discount from a stock of market making violence to a stock of market destroying verbal and political coercive uses, or remunerative extra-market coercive uses.
After all, violence is far more coercive. And much more rewarding.
See [glossary:three coercive technologies].
The depth of this insult is probalby accessible to only a few people. But I have to say this is one of my favorite little essays of late. – Curt