Kevin Williamson sings the praises of the division of labor – and of the institutions that make it deep and productive. (Also at work in prosperous, modern societies is innovation unleashed through the widespread acceptance of bourgeois norms.) (HT Richard Fulmer) A slice:
In the 1990s, we came to believe, if only for a couple of years, that “the laws of nature and of nature’s God” had been replaced by Moore’s Law, the observation that the computing power practically available doubles roughly every two years. Everything that Moore’s Law touched got better and cheaper every year — and it continues to do so. This has produced radical changes in how we live: Twelve years ago, there was no such thing as a smartphone, much less was there the omnipresence of handheld screens that distinguishes (and in part disfigures) life in the developed world in 2018. But Moore’s Law is not a force of nature, and it is not the case that our items of technology and our manufactured goods must get better, less expensive, and more widely available every year. They do, but they don’t just.
The miracle of modern life — modern life itself, really — has one ultimate source: the division of labor. The division of labor is not just a term from a dusty undergraduate economics textbook — it is the secret sauce, the fuel in the rocket engine of capitalist development that has transformed our world. It took about 66 years go to from Kitty Hawk to Neil Armstrong landing on the moon — Jeff Goldblum is 66 years old. In the course of one Goldblum — one Goldblum so far — we went from standing on the Earth and wondering about the moon to standing on the moon and observing the Earth.