≡ Menu

Some Hopes for 2020 and Beyond

In my latest column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review I express some hopes for 2020 and beyond. A slice:

I hope also that people generally come to have a more realistic view of government. While most people aren’t as intoxicated by the prospect of discretionary state power as are socialists, even political moderates are immoderate in their expectations of what democratically elected politicians can accomplish.

For example, many moderates naively suppose that government officials empowered to impose tariffs on fellow citizens’ purchases of imports will use that power only to promote the country’s general welfare and never to bestow special privileges on politically prominent producers. Many other moderates credulously suppose that when politicians set minimum wages, the artificially raised cost of employing low-skilled workers won’t dampen firms’ eagerness to employ such workers.

And yet other moderates assume unthinkingly that when politicians promise to “fight” climate change by raising taxes on carbon, that these taxes will be imposed with such scientific rigor that the resulting benefits will necessarily exceed the costs.

Here’s another hope: that we Americans stop obsessing over how much money people such as Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have in their financial portfolios. I hope that we instead come to understand — and to celebrate — just how incredibly wealthy we all are.

Sure, to fly across the continent at jet speed, you and I must share an aluminum tube with a few hundred other people, while Bezos has his own personal flying machine. That’s nice for Bezos. But not only did Bezos’ wealth not come at your or my expense — quite the contrary, by increasing the convenience of shopping, he made us richer — the fact remains that you and I can fly across the continent, in safety and comfort, at jet speed!

And we ordinary Americans also have homes and automobiles that are air-conditioned, access to antibiotics, an abundance of foods available only to monarchs a few hundred years ago, and a variety of foods available to no one a mere 100 years ago.

My hope for 2020 and beyond is that we all come to better appreciate the cornucopia of wonders made readily available by market-driven commerce.


Next post:

Previous post: