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Online dangers grow by the day. Every week, there’s a new cybersecurity threat, a new credit card hack, and a new way for your private information to fall into the wrong hands.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could discover exactly what people can learn about you online?
That’s possible with TruthFinder. This powerful online tool uncovers data even Google can’t find. You can use it to look up criminal records, phone numbers, aliases, email addresses, home addresses, and deep web photos for almost anyone in the United States — including yourself.
Has your public information been exposed? Here’s how you can find out.
What People Can Learn About You
Unless you literally live off the grid in a cabin in the woods, your personal information is part of the “public record” — local, state, and federal data that is publicly accessible. This data comes from census data, property ownership records, police reports, and other government sources.
TruthFinder crawls through all of this info and shows you exactly what people can learn about you online. Basically, if you have a social security number, a driver’s license, or a mortgage, at least some of your personal information is part of the public record.
What does that mean? Well, if people know where to look, they can find your name, birthdate, home address, phone number, email address, and social media profiles, among other information.
Maybe you don’t care about random strangers finding out where you live. But if you’d rather maintain your privacy, you can take steps to protect yourself.
Find Out What Personal Data Is Available Online
Just enter your first and last name into TruthFinderand hit “search”. The website will compile any available public records data into one easy-to-read report, showing you exactly what people can learn about you online.
Knowing is half the battle. Your report could include the following information:
Contact Information: Your personal phone number and email address, including ones you forgot about
Location History: Your current and prior addresses, as well as the dates you were first and last seen at those locations
Jobs and Education: Your current and prior workplaces, your alma mater, and even your dates of graduation
Social Media Profiles: The major ones, like Facebook and Twitter, as well as related links like your blog and Amazon wish list
Additional Info: Your public records data could include criminal records, traffic violations, your bankruptcy from years ago, your eviction from your younger years, and more
What’s more, you can use TruthFinder to look up details about your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, exes — basically, almost anyone in the United States. With just their name, you can find incredible amounts of data that you never realized was part of the public record.
People have used TruthFinder to reconnect with estranged family members, find long-lost friends, learn contact details for class reunions, and satisfy their curiosity. This website was designed to help people stay safe online. In the digital age, you never know what you might find.
Plus, when you’re a TruthFinder member, you have unlimited access to background reports.
Examples from garages at Talladega speedway of rope ‘noose’ hanging down:
Aubrey Huff said that he had VIP treatment into NASCAR trailers and the security is so tight that there is no way an angry fan could have gotten inside and hung a noose in Bubba’s garage.
I had VIP treatment into @nascar trailers. The security is so tight that there is no way a fan could have gotten inside & hung a noose in @BubbaWallace trailer. You are a moron if you think other wise.
He also appeared on “The View” Tuesday morning to discuss the noose found in his garage stall.
Wallace lashed out and said he was “offended” by hoax theories.
“It’s simple-minded people like that, the ones that are afraid of change, they use everything in their power to defend what they stand up for… instead of trying to listen and understand what’s going on.” Wallace said.
The NASCAR driver said he has spoken to the FBI about the noose incident.
.@BubbaWallace on those who believe the noose incident was staged: “It’s simple-minded people like that, the ones that are afraid of change, they use everything in their power to defend what they stand up for… instead of trying to listen and understand what’s going on.” pic.twitter.com/FikMntalwO
On Monday, the Justice Department launched an investigation into the noose that was found.
“The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama, FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are reviewing the situation surrounding the noose that was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage to determine whether there are violations of federal law,” US Attorney Jay E. Town said in statement.”Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society.”
Steve Bing, the film financier and philanthropist who backed hit movies from Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express and Beowulf to the Rolling Stones concert movie Shine a Light, has died.
According to law enforcement sources, Bing jumped from a Century City building at around 1 p.m. Monday. Following standard protocol, the Los Angeles Police Department would not confirm that the individual in question was Bing. However, the description of the man in his 50s who was found dead on the scene fits that of the producer.
Bing, also an influential political donor, was a real estate tycoon from a family with a rich history. In 2012, he pledged a $30 million legacy gift to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.
Sources told TMZ that Steve Bing was depressed about “lack of human contact during quarantine.”
Actress Elizabeth Hurley tweeted that she was “devastated” over the death of Steve Bing, the father of her 18-year-old son.
“I’m saddened beyond belief that Steve is no longer with us. Our time together was very happy and although there were some tough times, the memories of a sweet, kind man are what matter. We became close again in the last year and last spoke on our son’s 18th. This is devastating news.” Elizabeth Hurley said.
Former president Bill Clinton released a statement on the death of his friend Steve Bing.
I loved Steve Bing very much. He had a big heart, and he was willing to do anything he could for the people and causes he believed in. I will miss him and his enthusiasm more than I can say, and I hope he’s finally found peace.
A Seattle-based Black Lives Matter activist with the Twitter handle “wypipo-h8,” slang for “white people hate,” followed a terrified white woman home, harassed her, filmed her address and license plate, and is attempting to ruin her life for some social media clout.
Karlos Dillard describes himself as an “author, entrainer, and public speaker.” He is also a racist woman abuser.
In a video that he tweeted, the activist claimed that he followed a terrified woman home because she had flipped him off. As she shakes and cries in terror, he yells at her for cutting him off and continues to make wilder and wilder claims against her until he eventually tells a passerby that she called him the n-word. Something that he left out at the beginning and in his tweet. Almost like, that did not happen at all.
This isn’t the first time Dillard has done this to a woman. In another video that he took while working at his job as a Postmates driver, he accused an Asian woman of being racist for asking to see his identification to confirm the order. Much like in his latest stunt, he changes his story midway through the video, telling another passerby that the woman called him the n-word.
I just had a racist Asian lady demand to see my ID and my phone to prove that I was a postmates driver while I was picking up the food. After I refuse to show her my ID. I told her she was being racist and she said whatever Nigger. #blm#postmates@Postmatespic.twitter.com/l2eJQx0u6t
Leftist and black Twitter, of course, were happy to grant him assistance with his stalking and harassment of this frightened woman. Within 15 hours, the video had 125,000 likes and had nearly 4.5 million views. The media happily piled on her as well, claiming that she was overreacting — even though we have all seen this story play out a hundred times before. White woman is harassed, filmed, and Twitter gets her fired from her job and inundates her with threats until her life is in shambles.
The long-simmering controversy over Confederate symbolism in the Southern United States has boiled over in the wake of anger over police brutality against African-Americans, obliterating any notion that overcoming America’s tragic past of slavery and segregation is no longer relevant today. Longstanding calls on government officials to remove statues associated with pro-slavery figures have given way to protest-fueled iconoclasm–statues and monuments once protested are now defaced and toppled in convulsive anger.
In the immediate wake of this anger lies a fork in the road. Many purporting to speak in the name of fighting racism present the monument controversy as a cut and dry issue. The dead end of mutual recrimination to which this choice leads is already clear. Applauding mob violence leads to indiscriminate attacks increasingly dissociated with any historical context.
The wave of mass vandalism quickly spreads to whatever statue happens to be next in line–targets have already included such figures as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus, Theodore Roosevelt, Miguel de Cervantes, and Winston Churchill. With no small irony, these new targets include figures that several leading historians and journalistic outlets took pains to differentiate and insulate from the Confederate statue controversies only a few years ago.
A number of journalists and commentators have even embraced the politics of vigilantism associated with statue destruction. The New York Times’s Nikole Hannah-Jones recently tweeted (now deleted) that it “would be an honor” if these incidents were named “the 1619 Riots” in reference to her error-riddled yet also prize-winning set of essays, the 1619 Project.
Another path acknowledges the hard work that remains while also understanding when and why monuments were built, including commemorations from the distant past that have fallen from favor as well as new subjects of public art that once suffered neglect. The economic history of Civil War monuments, rather than making issues of race sanitized and academic, can lead to understanding and real progress. By looking at the history of these monuments we see even more clearly the dangers of ignoring the legacy slavery, the points of our past when reactionary forces gained steam, and more recently some cause for hope.
It is not my purpose here to offer advice on what should be done with specific statues, save to note that the point of decision-making needs to occur through input into normal and democratic processes – not mob action, and especially not the type that indulges violent and indiscriminate destruction. That much noted, political discussions about public monuments of all types could benefit from a firmer grounding in historical evidence and data. What emerges is a more complex picture that tells its own story of changing beliefs and attitudes about how we commemorate our past.
The Empirical Side of the Monuments Debate
So what does economics have to say about historical memorialization? It turns out quite a bit, with results that offer empirical insights into this heated subject matter.
Over the past year I have been working on a larger project (along with my co-author Frank Garmon Jr. and colleague Micha Gartz) to build a national database of monuments, memorials, place names, and other public commemorations of figures and events associated with the Civil War era. These include not only Confederate military statues and markers, but also their less-discussed counterparts on the Union side as well as a separate database of monuments to abolitionists and anti-slavery figures.
So far, we have catalogued over 4,000 Civil War-era monuments and memorial designations across the United States. More than 2,100 of these come from the Union side of the Civil War, plus an additional 160 abolitionist statues and commemorations. The database also contains Confederate monuments found in a 2017 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center; however we are in the process of expanding it to include battlefield memorials and a number of sites that they missed to ensure a comprehensive accounting of markers and designations associated with the war and the struggle over slavery.
It is not possible to capture every dimension of monument construction from a strictly empirical approach, as a detailed examination of specific monuments reveals. Most were constructed in the decades following the Civil War itself, particularly around major war commemorations such as the 50th anniversary from 1911 to 1915. This period also overlapped with the Jim Crow era of state-enforced racial segregation, as well as successive waves of accompanying violence against African-Americans. That context is important for interpreting the historical purposes of monuments, and cannot be easily parsed away from military and other motives.
The data nonetheless give us a broader context of how monument construction patterns have evolved over time, including the shifting balances of emphasis on the southern, northern, and abolitionist causes. Several clear trends emerge from the numbers of monuments over time.
The Economics of Memorialization
First, when we restrict our scope to physical statues and plaques, we find clear parallels between the construction patterns of Union and Confederate monuments. The peak year for the construction of both types was 1911, the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the war. Monument construction dates also clearly cluster in the years around this period, as depicted below.
Union monuments substantially outnumber Confederate monuments in total, although the annual number of Confederate statues briefly overtook the Union totals in the cluster of dates around the 1911 anniversary. Likely explanations include the northern states being comparatively wealthier after the war and thus able to afford commemorations at earlier points, as well as the country’s coalescing around a reconciliationist narrative of how the war was remembered in the lifetimes of its participants. Although this narrative tapped “reunification” and a nationalist concept of the union, it was also intertwined with the elevation of the southern “Lost Cause” myth that intentionally downplayed slavery. With a few notable exceptions, monuments in this era often neglected or omitted the presence of African-Americans entirely, including the United States Colored Troops that fought on the northern side of the war.
At the same time, the statistical patterns for both types of monuments likely has a deeper explanation tied to the influence of Civil War veterans as a sizable political constituency. The influx of public and private expenditures on monuments coincides with the lifespan of veterans from the conflict, as well as a pattern witnessed in other wars that commemorates major anniversaries. The 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg in 1913, for example, drew over 50,000 elderly veterans to the site. It coincided with a monument building spree across the country, including hundreds of local ceremonies and veterans reunion events.
Part of this pattern reflects the political clout of veterans themselves in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other researchers have documented the role of these same constituencies in securing pensions for Union veterans and their dependents, creating a direct precursor to the modern social safety net in the process. As Union pensions grew at the federal level, southern states followed suit and began implementing similar expenditures on behalf of Confederate veterans, their widows, and their children.
Civil War statue-building follows a nearly identical pattern on both sides, and may thus be explained in part as an overture to the same constituencies as the pension recipients. Although they remain the products of an era fraught with discrimination, Confederate and Union monuments alike appear to have followed a fairly typical pattern of veterans’ commemorations aimed at cultivating support among this constituency and their families.
Clear racial overtones enter a second area of the Confederate memorialization debate, and do so in pronounced ways associated with later events of the civil rights movement. Specifically, if we take the subset of commemorations that consist of schools named after Confederate figures, a clear break emerges from naming patterns on the Union side. That break occurs around the 1954 Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education, ordering the desegregation of public schools.
As the chart below shows, schools named after Confederate figures were at best sporadic and infrequent for the first 90 years after the war. By contrast, Union-named schools happened at more or less a steady pace throughout this period. The pattern changed though in 1954 with a sudden and sharp spike in schools named after Confederate generals and politicians. This spike persisted for another 15 years, with at least 48 out of roughly 110 Confederate-named schools being built in this narrow period.
(Note: this chart excludes schools named after Abraham Lincoln, because they vastly outnumber any other Civil War-era figure on account of his popularity as a historical president. Including Lincoln results in a sustained pattern of naming schools after him from the Civil War era to the present day.)
The post-1954 spike in Confederate-named schools suggests an unsettling political reality. During the aftermath of Brown v. Board, multiple southern state governments put forth an aggressive political resistance to court-ordered integration that persisted for roughly the same period.
In short, it appears that naming public schools after Confederate generals became another tool in the segregationists’ arsenal to politically signal this resistance and to further discourage African-American families from attempting to register at segregated all-white schools.
After the collapse of “Massive Resistance” in the wake of subsequent court orders and civil rights legislation, the number of new schools bearing Confederate-themed names dwindled away to a trickle. Union-named schools continue more or less apace of their earlier trends, with Lincoln remaining the most popular choice by far. Consistent with this hypothesis, other research has shown that a surge in Confederate battle flag usage coincided with the civil rights era. School names and flags may therefore evince a clearer racial motive in connection with Confederate iconography than the older statues, which were more closely intertwined with the politics of veterans’ commemorations and pensions.
A third pattern emerging from the monuments database offers a glimmer of hope relative to the segregation-tainted legacy of school name patterns. Abolition-themed memorials and commemorations appear to be on a clear rise from the early 1990s to the present day.
Although this section of the database is still undergoing expansion, roughly 160 abolition-themed monuments and place names have been identified so far. Memorials of this type appeared sporadically in the 19th and early 20th century, with the most common examples consisting of historically black colleges and universities (HCBUs) that bear the name of an abolitionist figure or philanthropist.
Since the 1990s however, a growing movement to commemorate abolitionists through public markers and memorials has taken off. At the present, these constructions outpace the trickle of new Union and Confederate markers that occasionally appear. They likely reflect a growing sense of commemoration and celebration for figures that were first neglected in the wake of the war, and later vilified as part of the Lost Cause ethos. The growing support for public commemoration of abolitionists and anti-slavery causes therefore signifies a clear and continuing shift in attitudes that has largely gone unnoticed from the monuments debate.
With the current politicization of statues, including multiple high-profile acts of vandalism against abolitionist and anti-slavery figures, it is important to stress this final insight from the data. The course in public memorialization of anti-slavery figures and events is at long last moving in a positive direction. It can and should be sustained, provided that the mob, now haphazardly targeting almost any form of public statuary, does not make those same monuments into additional casualties of iconoclasm.
Billion dollar investment firm Smead Capitol Management announced they are moving their headquarters from Seattle to Phoenix.
According to FOX Business Network the CEO says there is no downtown business community in Seattle where they are located and recruitment is harder in Seattle. The cost of living inside the city is higher than Phoenix.
Smead CEO Cole Smead told KTAR, “The unrest that has taken place in the city of Seattle… there is really is not a downtown business community today.”
Smead added, “My biggest concern for Seattle was what the business community is going to come back to, and what kind of businesses are going to come back for customers.”
Trump is right.
One section of the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation Act of 2003 states that a person who willfully injures or destroys veteran memorials — or attempts to do so — shall be fined and/or imprisoned no more than 10 years.
Over 100 monuments and statues have been torn down by violent leftists and Marxists in the last month.
It’s time to jail these lawbreakers.
I spend much of my time wondering. I wonder about many matters. But the kind of wondering that I typically do isn’t the kind that finds me marveling wide-eyed at some amazing feature of reality (although I do sometimes marvel in this way). Most of my wondering results from me being mystified that so many people fail to ask questions of the sort that strike me as obvious, relevant, and important.
I wonder a great deal about people’s misunderstanding of trade. For example, I wonder…
… why, on certain occasions, support for protectionist policies in the United States can be easily drummed up by asserting that some foreign government is intent on artificially restricting Americans’ ability to import goods and services, such as medical supplies. Why do Americans turn for a ‘solution’ to this problem to their own government – a government that has done, and continues to do, far more than has any foreign government to artificially restrict Americans’ ability to import goods and services?
… why, on other occasions, support for protectionist policies in the U.S. can be easily drummed up by asserting that some foreign government is intent on artificially enhancing Americans’ ability to import goods and services, such as commercial aircraft. Why is there no understanding that this complaint is inconsistent with the complaint just above? And more generally, why does anyone believe that we Americans are harmed by foreigners arranging for us to have access to a greater abundance of goods and services?
… why so many Americans believe that they will be made poorer if people in poor countries, through trade, become richer. Why do so many of my fellow Americans believe that the increased ability of foreigners to produce and offer to sell to us high-quality goods and services threatens our prosperity? Do these same Americans believe that their prosperity is threatened if greater numbers of other Americans, say, get better education that enables them – these other Americans – to produce and offer to sell to their fellow Americans high-quality goods and services? Why should we believe that we are benefitted through trade by the enrichment of human beings across town, but that we are harmed through trade by the enrichment of human beings across the ocean?
… why so many Americans fail to understand that international trade cannot make Americans more dependent upon foreigners without making foreigners more dependent upon Americans. Why don’t more people realize that foreigners engage in commerce with Americans in order to get goods and services in exchange from Americans? Asked differently, why do so many people presume that foreigners are stubbornly intent on giving to Americans gifts?
But trade is not the only policy matter that causes me to wonder. I wonder also about many non-trade matters. I wonder, for instance, …
… why Jones’s call to forcibly transfer some of Smith’s wealth to Johnson is widely regarded as evidence of Jones’s enlightened altruism, while Smith’s call to keep the wealth that he has earned from being forcibly transferred to Johnson is widely regarded as evidence of Smith’s benighted greed. Why is the desire to keep what one earns regarded as evidence of greed? And why is the desire to grab what others have earned not regarded as evidence of greed?
… why Marxist-sympathetic academics such as economists Thomas Piketty and Gabriel Zucman write as if capital typically grows in value automatically, independently of human institutions and actions, and that capital that grows in value helps only the owners of capital but not consumers and workers. Why don’t Piketty, Zucman, et al., understand that the value of capital – the value of the likes of a factory, of a bulldozer, of a plot of farmland, of a pharmaceutical-company research lab – is tied tightly to its productivity? And why don’t these people understand that to be productive capital must be creatively designed and directed to satisfy consumer desires that would otherwise remain unsatisfied? What goes on in the heads of people such as Piketty and Zucman to blind them to the reality that designing and deploying capital to make it productive requires human creativity, effort, and risk-taking?
… why, if the likes of Piketty and Zucman truly believe that capital typically grows automatically, the likes of Piketty and Zucman don’t advise middle- and low-income people simply to acquire more capital – that is, to become capitalists. Because acquiring capital is today quite easy – hey, E*TRADE has a mobile app!– why must governments coercively transfer capital from those who’ve created or otherwise peacefully acquired it to those who’ve exerted no effort to acquire capital for themselves?
… how the likes of Piketty, Zucman, and others who believe that capitalists possess a sinister power that can be thwarted only by a muscular state that actively “redistributes” wealth explain the fact that bankruptcy of privately-owned businesses in market economies is commonplace. Isn’t the reality of business bankruptcies – including bankruptcies of many businesses once large and “dominant” – alone sufficient to discredit the notion that capital grows in value automatically?
Not-so-wonderful Lack of Context
And lately I’ve wondered also about our reaction to coronavirus. I wonder mostly…
… how much of the public’s reaction to coronavirus is driven by media and political hysteria. I wonder what would happen if the news media and government officials were to pick some cause of death or illness other than coronavirus and report on it in isolation of other causes of death or illness. What would be the public reaction if the headlines daily announced, say, the number of people who died within the past 24 hours from some virus other than COVID, and reported these daily deaths with vivid bar charts? How would the public react to increased testing of some virus other than COVID and to breathless reports of rising numbers of people testing positive for this other virus?
This last bit of my wondering is more open-ended than most of my other wonderings. I honestly don’t know the answers to the questions posed in the previous paragraph. But in my now-long lifetime I’ve seen enough media and political bias to cause me to seriously suspect that a great deal of the public’s reaction to COVID-19 was and is driven by a failure to put this disease in proper perspective. I wonder what would happen if a better and fuller perspective were given.
Regardless of the answer, it’s always good to wonder.
And President Trump told reporters his intentions before his flight to Arizona.
President Trump: last night we stopped an attack on a great monument, the monument of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park, and I just want to thank the police force they did a great job… Really they did a great job. They stopped it cold. Numerous people are in jail and going to jail today. People are already there. But we’re looking at long term sentences under the act, we have a very specific Monument’s Act. We are looking at long term jail sentences.
Deidre McCloskey does not pull her punches, nor does she discriminate in her new book Historical Impromptus, a book where she takes on everyone from Karl Marx to Adam Smith. As expected for a professor who teaches four different subjects her book engages a number of topics that include but are not limited to international trade, the origins of wealth, monetary policy, agriculture, peasant behavior, economic development, and the breeding habits of rich people.
It is a truly interesting book that consists of 368 pages of essays that at first seem a bit eclectic but eventually come together to form a coherent picture. That is as advertised, a commentary on British economic history which holds key universal lessons, an explanation of the Great Enrichment, and a stalwart defense of liberalism packing an economic reality check for doomsday alarmists.
McCloskey’s discussion on British economic history alternates between providing highly specific details on industrial performance and broader discussions about the experience of humanity. The passages read almost like a conversation as she responds to a variety of different scholars, intricately applying and refuting their writings. Intertwined with her oddly specific and niche discussions about the variations in size of coal mine shafts and the performance of cotton mills are some profound observations about history. One of her most important is the refutation of some commonly held economic fallacies.
The first fallacy is the idea of a British economic decline, to which she asks a decline to what? She cites various explanations for a perceived fall from grace during the late Victorian era such as misallocations of capital. If only British businessmen invested more at home than in Canadian railroads, she playfully mocks, or perhaps Parliament should have banned all investment abroad. These faulty hypotheses not only advocate for a zero-sum view of prosperity but as McCloskey hammers on in her book, there was no economic decline. Some countries just grew a little faster and fast economic growth is easier at the bottom than it is at the top.
The scholars she criticizes cited the superior economic growth of Gilded Age America and Germany as proof of Britain’s decline. However, they forgot that the rest of the world was far poorer by an order of magnitude. Instead of being the best economy in the world, now Britain was only in the top five; what a shame! At the same time as America and Germany got rich, they contributed to the overall wealth and prosperity of the world. Economic growth is mutually beneficial, not a competition with winners and losers.
Clearly, she did not mean to address this point simply to gain intellectual brownie points; these same characters still exist today in different forms and advocate for what is essentially economic nationalism. They do not realize that variance in economic growth is fine, that in the grand scheme of things we are richer than ever before, that prosperity elsewhere adds and not detracts from our overall well-being.
Another very important lesson McCloskey provides in her book is the nature of prosperity. Contrary to what many would like to believe, imperialism and world domination were not good for the average Briton. You cannot oppress your way to prosperity or else North Korea would be the richest country in the world. Free enterprise, trade, and the liberal ideals of The Enlightenment is what created the wealth they had and still have today.
If anything the British may have been better off had they not conquered half the world and instead focused on being a free-trading nation. Save for having cool stolen artifacts and a map of the world painted in red, what good did any of this do for the average British citizen? British tax dollars were being siphoned off to pay for constant military campaigns, and goods imported from abroad were paid for in blood.
The real driver of growth rested in the free citizen, the ability to conduct commerce, to trade freely, to invent and innovate, to compete in the open marketplace. One does not need any more proof than to look at modern-day Britain. A mere shadow of its former self geographically, but wealthier by orders of magnitude. In an increasingly globalized world that embraces free enterprise we see the results everywhere we look.
McCloskey provides evidence that the average global GDP per capita from 1820 to 1992 increased by a factor of almost 800%. For countries like the United States that fully embraced liberal values that number is closer to 1600%. Countries like Russia, with greater size and natural resources, pales in comparison because its people are not free. Prosperity is furthered when more and more people are able to participate in the marketplace and when they can bring their talents and ideas to the world.
The second part of McCloskey’s book touches on the Great Enrichment, which is the current time period that we are so fortunate to inhabit. For the majority of human existence and by our natural condition, abject poverty was the state of man. Then within the past few hundred years, wealth generation and prosperity began to skyrocket. In this portion of her book she seeks to compare a diverse array of ideas and offer her own hypothesis. Much like the section on British economic history, McCloskey has a timeless lesson for the reader that is highly relevant today.
The section concerning the Great Enrichment is especially interesting because it attempts to answer a profound and noble question: how did humanity become rich and how can more societies become rich?
Some people, like Karl Marx, would assert that humanity became rich when exploitation of labor became profitable. On page 266 she quotes Marx and Engels when they write “the bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce two hundred years, has created more massive and colossal productive forces than have all the preceding generations together.” The latter part of that statement is certainly true as the bourgeoisie has gone on to create more and more productive institutions; the former, not so much. As she explains in a different paper:
“Taking by exploitation from slaves or workers results merely in more such fruitless capital accumulation, if it does, and is anyway is unable to explain a great enrichment for even the exploited in the magnitude observed, absent an unexplained and massive innovation.”
Another school of thought she tackles is social-Darwinism espoused by Gregory Clark in his book ‘A Brief Economic History of the World.’ McCloskey summarizes his point that prosperity became more widespread because rich people were eventually able to spread their values throughout society because they could breed more and survive longer. Eventually, values that were necessary for a prosperous commercial society became more and more widespread. McCloskey quotes Clark’s writing on page 302 which says, “England’s advantage lay in the rapid cultural, and potentially also genetic, diffusion of the values of the economically successful through society.”
Besides being flirtatious with eugenics, this cannot be true either as the rich and the poor have enjoined massive gains in wealth. Furthermore, countries like China and India within the same generation have gone from abject poverty to economic powerhouses. This theory does, however, raise good points about the necessity of certain values that make commercial society possible. She touches on this later in the book.
McCloskey then moves on to analyze and engage with ideas that could certainly play a role but she does not see as the main causal factor. On page 280 she cites the theory of endogenous growth which argues that purely economic factors such as population and urbanization lead to prosperity. Then there is exogenous growth which posits that outside factors such as technological transfers lead to growth. Perhaps it was the harnessing of fossil fuels cited on page 319? All of these are helpful but nowhere near causal.
The great Adam Smith and his theory that accumulation of capital produces wealth must be the linchpin, right? Or maybe John Stuart Mill’s view that savings from globalization created the investments necessary for prosperity? On page 295 McCloskey asserts that these are all fantastic things to have but they are not the root cause of the Great Enrichment and widespread growth. Necessary but not sufficient for prosperity.
The root of the Great Enrichment and the prosperity that we see increasingly around the world is the spread of ideas. Ideas encompassing the general sentiment towards commerce, the dignity of individuals, and the value of liberty that are attributed to the Dutch Golden Age. McCloskey on page 325 writes that
“If capital accumulation or the rule of law had been sufficient the Great Enrichment would have happened in Mesopotamia in 2000 B.C… Why did it all start at first in Holland about 1600 and then in England about 1700… The answer, in a word, is liberty. Liberated people it turns out are ingenious.”
When people embrace the ideas of political and economic freedom, they are free to innovate, to compare ideas, to compete in the marketplace. A society that embraces what she calls “bourgeois values” is a society that can unleash the potential of its people. It was not capital attainment or worker exploitation or institutions like common law. It was as she writes
“Ideas from and about the bourgeoisie — by an explosion after 1800 in technical ideas and a few institutional concepts, backed by a massive ideological shift toward market-tested betterment.”
This shift in values is what ultimately leads people to prosperity. Embracing the values of entrepreneurship and enterprise, individual worth, and responsibility. A country could have all the capital in the world and the best institutions and still get nowhere. If the people themselves do not value the core principles of liberty, of permissionless innovation, of mutual respect, and self-responsibility, then prosperity will be scarce. People certainly need proper institutions and capital to generate wealth. But it is the ideas and values that define a society that determines if they will be put to good use.
“What made us free and rich was the questioning of the notion that ‘a liberty’ was a special privilege accorded to a guildsman of the town or to a nobleman of the robe, and the supporting notion that the only ‘dignity’ was privilege inherited from such men and their charter-granting feudal lords.”
Breaking down barriers not only institutionally but socially, and allowing more people to strive for their potential is what started the engine of comprehensive economic growth. Economic and social freedom that rests not only in regulatory codes but in the hearts of men.
Deidre McCloskey separates her book into two sections: one on British economic history and one on the Great Enrichment, but they come together to form one coherent message. Standing out from the oddly specific essays about agriculture and canal construction, monetary policy and financial practices are a persuasive prescription for economic and social liberty. She assures us that the principles of free trade, of global cooperation, of commercial enterprise and individual dignity will continue to bring the blessings of prosperity to more and more human beings.
We should ignore the siren songs of socialism, fascism, economic nationalism and embrace a culture that allows people to as she says “have a go.” In other words, a free and open society that embraces bourgeois values. If we do this we will not only continue the economic and social miracle that many of us are so blessed to be a part of but extend it to others who are less fortunate.
Twice as may Americans back the “All Lives Matter” slogan over the “Black Lives Matter” slogan, says a new Rasmussen survey of 1,000 likely voters.
Among blacks, a 47 percent plurality picked “All Lives Matter” over the 44 percent who picked “Black Lives Matter.”
The June 15-16 poll asked respondents: “Which statement is closest to your own?”
“Black Lives Matter” was picked by 30 percent of voters, including 35 percent of voters under age 40, and 63 percent of liberals.
“All Lives Matter” was picked by 59 percent of all voters, 58 percent of swing-voters, and 56 percent of “moderate” voters.
“Black Lives Matter” was more favored by wealthier people. It was backed by just 34 percent of people earning less than $30,000 but by 53 percent of people who earn above $200,000. The slogan was picked by just 22 percent of high school graduates but by 41 percent of people with professional degrees.
In contrast, “All Lives Matter” was picked by 54 percent of people under 40, by 60 percent of whites, by 61 percent of people who are neither black nor white, by 67 percent of people who earn between $30,000 and $50,000, by 70 percent of high-school graduates, and by 59 percent of college graduates.
The poll showed that 55 percent of people who strongly disapprove of Trump prefer “Black Lives Matter.” But 63 percent of people who “somewhat” approve or disapprove of Trump prefer the “All Lives Matter.”
The partisan gap is wide. Seventy-seven percent of conservatives prefer ‘All Lives Matter,” while 63 percent of liberals prefer “Black Lives Matter.” However, 29 percent of liberals prefer “All Lives Matter.”
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