… is from page six of the print version of Art Carden’s and Deirdre Nansen McCloskey’s superb lead essay for the September/October 2020 Cato Policy Report – an essay (“How the Bourgeois Deal Enriched the World”) that is excerpted from their forthcoming book (for which I have already placed my order at Amazon, and encourage you to place yours), Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich):
It would be cold comfort if the gains since 1800, or 1960, had gone to the rich, as you hear claimed every day. But the poor have been the big winners. The great economist Joseph Schumpeter described “the capitalist achievement” in his 1942 book, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy: “Queen Elizabeth owned silk stockings. The capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within the reach of factory girls in return for steadily decreasing amounts of effort.” Marie Antoinette is supposed to have said, when told that the peasants had no bread, “Let them eat cake” (well, “brioche,” but same difference.) In rich countries now, people worry about different problems. All of us, even the poor, have too much bread. We eat too much cake. We are on our way to a world in which everyone has “first‐world” problems such as bulging waistlines, cluttered closets, and nothing good to watch on Netflix.