Monthly Archives: May 2012

The end of the epoch?

I always enjoy Jason Trennert’s thought pieces. A principal of the Strategas Research Partners firm, he is one of the few strategists that understands economics is at its heart a study of man rather than a study of numbers. The study of man necessarily incorporates the gap between what he is intended to be and what he often ends up being. The beautiful communal life described in the Book of the Acts is an aspirational picture, but economics is the study of how Fallen Man deals with scarcity. Where he should in generosity live sacrificially, he does routinely engage in rent seeking, hoarding, wasting, and other disordered passions. Cultures react to waves of disorder with a return to order, and they return to disorder as the discipline required for order dissipates.

Jason observed his employees were rooting against Facebook during its public offering. This suggests to me another positive data point in the possible cultural turn from childishness to maturity. From the Fascist and Progressive glorification of youth, we moved to the Counterculture of the 1960s and Mao’s Cultural Revolution of the 1970s. The result was cultural infantilism, where the parents accommodate every demand of the baby. The Cloward-Piven political strategy and Saul Alinsky’s community organizing methods are the combination of infantile reasoning and adolescent thuggishness, and we have reaped its rewards for a full generation. The spoiled demands of public unions in the US and socialist masses in Mediterranean Europe may mark the end of the epoch. Companies with no productive purpose sport $100 billion market values because kids visit their website. At some point, even the Emperor’s courtiers admitted he had no clothes. Perhaps we are reaching that point, and we will see a global shift toward the grown-ups and away from the children.

If we are seeing a shift, then the long-term opportunity for private investors through the stock market should be quite good. So much earning potential has been suppressed due to the corporatism regnant today, but the free enterprise system is far and away the best way to allocate scarce goods and direct capital to its best end. Released from the heavy hand of government officials, and obliged to accept the consequences of their free actions, private entities will innovate and develop goods and services that delight customers and reward investors.