"Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" are Hobbes' words for life without society. Who should we thank for our current state of comparative wealth? Our ancestors, who left us two great gifts:

But now, in the very present, what are we preparing to bequeath to our posterity? Savings rates are negative in much of the world, as speculators cash in on recent (apparent) capital gains and spend spend spend. New ideas are increasingly held in secret, as proprietary knowledge for profit. Learning in the schools is in crisis, as children waste their time on entertainment and consumption.

Adam Smith observed that all the activities of governments had not been able to destroy capital so fast as individuals efforts had built it up. The balance may have tipped; we may be at a turning point. Our descendants may look back at our inherited wealth and ask why we chose to squander it. How can we answer them?

Wednesday, July 07, 1999 at 20:46:58 (EDT) = 1999-07-07


(correlates: StupidityAndConspiracy, TwoGreatSecrets, ShakespeareanIvy, ...)