… is from page 270 of Michael Fairbanks’s 2000 essay “Changing the Mind of a Nation: Elements in a Process for Creating Prosperity,” which is chapter 20 in Culture Matters , Lawrence E. Harrison and Samuel P. Huntington, eds. (2000):
Prosperity helps create space in people’s hearts and minds so that they may develop a healthy emotional and spiritual life, according to their preferences, unfettered by everyday concerns of the material goods they require to survive.
DBx: Indeed so.
People who disdain economists’ talk of allocating resources efficiently – that is, of not using resources wastefully – unknowingly disdain the creation of the very wealth that these people insist is necessary for the lives of the poor to be made better. People who decry the profit motive – that is, the motive that prompts individuals to seek out, discover, and take advantage of opportunities to use resources in ways that produce more wealth – unknowingly decry an indispensable motive for creating the very wealth that these people wish government to use to build infrastructure (and “infrastructure”) and to “redistribute.” People who hold in contempt bourgeois values – that is, those values upon which modern, prosperous civilization is grounded – unknowingly hold in contempt values that are essential to enable individuals to develop genuine and capacious fellow-feeling rather than be consumed only with scratching out an existence for themselves, others largely be damned.