Yesterday, I made a comment suggesting that libertarianism (the Ayn Rand school) goes too far. Today, I offer Jay’s comment on what happens when the pendulum swings too much in the other direction:

From Jay S.: “You recently wrote: In this country, given our resources, capital and technology, we’d need relatively few people just to feed, clothe and house us. A true observation, as far as it goes. Being as I live in a country that is 30-50% poorer materially than the US — Italy — I’ve noticed one other major factor in addition to resources, capital and technology that contributes to the wealth of the average American (and which is completely missing in most of the rest of the world): a political-social culture of productivity and personal responsibility.

“Here, between government regulation, stifling taxation, and a socialist mindset that causes the average person to regard a job as a fundamental human right which the government owes him regardless of his personal productivity, the output per person is far less than in the US. Throw in the wasted human labor, such as the army of guys who push the buttons in self-service elevators because they have jobs protected by powerful unions and everyone thinks it would be cruel to make them hunt for an actual job, and the end result is that everyone is poorer, even with abundant resources, capital, and technology.”

A.T.: A happy balance between unfettered libertarianism and stifling paternalism may be the best bet — and perhaps not so far from where America is today.



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