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The Long-Overdue Death of an Economic Theory

Four Deformations of the Apocalypse

By DAVID STOCKMAN, Published: July 31, 2010

This article hit the top of the “most popular” list in the New York Times Online this morning, and it’s easy to see why: Finally a compact and easy-to-understand overview of what’s gone wrong with the American economy.

Stockman points out four ideas that have worked together, in a kind of synergy, to undermine our position. Together, they have created a false impression of prosperity that has enticed us to go further and further down the garden path into economic la-la land.

Sixty years ago, the people who lived in our house had to start laundry day by harnessing the horse and hitching it up to the wagon. Then they’d have to drive their laundry down to the river, stoke up the wood-fired boiler on the beach, do their laundry by hand, rinse it in the river, drive home, unhitch the horse and feed it, and then hang up the laundry to dry. That’s the kind of effort it took to create modern, civilized society.

One of our problems today is that other people are still willing to work just as hard, for similar rewards. For a while, they’ve been content to be our servants, supplying us with almost everything we’ve wanted while we ran through our capital. It’s going to be really interesting to see what happens in a generation or two, when they’ve saved some of what we’ve squandered, and invested enough of it in improved local infrastructure and education.

:-J