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Enter Stage Right, Take Two

Another Chicago Boyz colleague, James Bennett, author of The Anglosphere Challenge, had a feature article in National Review, which is now available online:

The Great U-Turn

Admirers and detractors of the United States agree on one point: This country is unusually resistant to the social consensus and set of structures broadly known as “social democracy” or “progressivism.” (Social democracy leans more toward state ownership, progressivism toward state regulation.) Various versions of such schemes have prevailed in Western Europe and Japan, and to a lesser degree in Britain, Canada, and Australia. The characteristics include a wider scope and role for the state, centralization of decision-making in a national bureaucracy, monopolization of power by a set of large institutions, including state-champion corporations and labor unions, and a wide variety of social entitlements for all citizens. This was the classic progressive economic program; since the 1960s, it has also included certain social characteristics, such as official multiculturalism.

Most of these measures were characteristic of some parts of Continental Western Europe from the late 19th century onward, and became generally prevalent there after the Second World War. The English-speaking countries lagged well behind; Britain began to adopt welfarist policies and admit labor unions to the domestic power system before the First World War, but moved to full entitlement systems and substantial state control of the economy only after 1945. Australia and New Zealand adopted entitlement systems early, using their agricultural and mineral export earnings as petro-states now use oil wealth, but remained socially conservative in many other ways. Canada was essentially similar to the U.S. in its domestic systems (despite some greater public ownership, mostly in transportation) until the 1960s. But by the end of the 1970s, America stood virtually alone in a world of seemingly universal consensus for a strong managerial state.

….America had gone some distance down this road by 1980, although not as far as Canada or Britain, and nowhere near as far as Germany or France, which had never been all that laissez-faire in the first place. But 1980 marked the point at which the nation reversed course. Thenceforth it would be headed in the opposite direction, toward a new vision of individualism and decentralism, driven by the computer rather than the plow….

Read the rest here.

2 Responses to “Enter Stage Right, Take Two”

  1. onparkstreet Says:

    The part about air-conditioning being sort of a "game-changer" in terms of people and businesses moving to the South and Southwest was especially interesting, I thought.
    – Madhu

  2. MM Says:

    This is old creaky thinking from the last century.  The test is: if you taught this in an advanced high school or college class would the students stay awake?This does not inform anything about competing with China.  This says nothing about what Brazil will become.  This is no help with how the US will sell products and ideas in India.  The people who are 26 and unwinding the genome or developing synfuels or writing the novels of the 21st century – in America, China, Korea, India, Brazil, and Russia are no more connected to this than they are to how Persia invaded Greece 2000 years ago.The founders are not Devine beings sent from the past to guide us and keep us on the path of the whole world becoming America circa 1986.  That time and place are history forever.Like the old chant – "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

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