27 February, 2021

The Road From Serfdom - How Americans can become citizens again


The kinds of economists involved most intimately with government and financial institutions by and large don’t notice real people in real places—people who may be losing jobs and falling into despondency, addiction, and suicide. They tend not to see as relevant to their domains of expertise the millions of people on the move and the impact of mass migration on cultural cohesion. In recent years, they overlooked the warning signs indicating limits to the acceptance of their worldview, notably in the very communities suffering because of their economic policies. Elites on both the left and the right, with their well-thumbed passports and multicultural outlook, were no less blind. They did not see the pressures rising. In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, I more than once heard an economist friend say something like the following: “We knew globalization would force transformations, but we never thought they would be localized in a specific subset of communities.” And: “We knew that globalization would cause disruption over a 20-year period, but I never thought about what 20 years is like in the life of a specific person or community.” The very language conveys remoteness—the sheer size of the chasm between the World Economic Forum and the actual world. This is what happens when the messy, mediating business of popular politics no longer functions properly—when it no longer serves as the membrane through which ideas must pass before they turn into action.