1. William Pfaff; “The Wrath of Nations”; Simon and Schuster; New York; 1993; p. 57.
2. Isaiah Berlin; “The Roots of Romanticism”; Princeton University Press, N.J.; 1999; p. 141.
3. Hans Kohn; “The Idea of Nationalism”; The Macmillan Company; New York; 1961; p. 459.
4. Metro News, U.K.; “Boris Johnson delivers Downing Street speech”; 9/6/22.
5. James Madison; “The Federalist No. 50”; Bantam Dell; New York; 2003; p. 316.
6. Dana Milbank; “The Destructionists”; Doubleday; New York; 2022; p. 1.
7. New York Times; 8/24/22.
7a This website is concerned, not with the economic theory of general equilibrium – where nothing but extremely complex math happens, but with the dynamics of real markets as they vary in level according to circumstances, and as they meet or do not meet the reasonable requirements of investors. Another implication of markets, in the scheme of things, is that the long-term health of your portfolio depends upon the health and almost organic balance of society among groups of people, institutions and the motivating ideas. Relevant here, to the U.S., is an appropriate balance between generations, between undeadlocked branches of government, and ultimately between the ethics of tradition and change.
A new book by NYU Stern School professor Scott Galloway, “Adrift (2022)” graphs actual data to prove his conclusion: “We’ve gotten closest to realizing our ideals when we’ve balanced ruthless capitalism with the ballast of a strong middle class. Our drift away from that course is at the heart of this book. Shifting us back is the objective of my recommendations….My hope is that the visible landfall of progress, citizenship, and perspective provide determination and direction. That we make a massive investment in younger Americans, that we re-embrace our brothers and sisters abroad, that we discern the difference between competitors and enemies, and that we recognize before all else…we are Americans….It’s not a foregone conclusion that we’ll get to land. We don’t just wash up on any of these shores - the investment and leadership need to be focused and immense. However, landfall is there. It’s only a matter of getting to it.”
This book may be summarized by the first graph; the second is the means by which the U.S. economy renews itself.
click here Percentage of 30 Year Olds Earning More Than Their Parents Did at 30; p. 44.
click here Share of Adults Who Started Their Own Business; p. 80.
To which we add an additional note from corporate finance. The fastest way for a CEO to increase his company’s stock price is to increase the return on invested capital, here defined simply as (net profit + depreciation)/net assets employed. Let others do the heavy lifting by doing the investing in plant and equipment. The U.S. manufacturing company thus looks like a tech company, possessing licensing, some technology transfer (s.t. negotiation), marketing agreements and now able to do stock repurchases with the excess cash – thus reducing the number of shares.
This capitalist pursuit of immediate profit conflicts with the broader role of Americans as producers, thus ultimately resulting in social unrest, as demonstrated by the riots on 8/12/17 in Charlottesville, Va.
8. Kohn, p.p. 561, 563.
9. Kohn; p. 574.