From an Angry Reader:
Hello Dr. Hanson,
While it’s hard to argue with “be happy day by day”, our current form of capitalism – which Hoover seems to endorse – makes that near impossible.
Over the last 30 years, Friedman’s nutty idea of maximizing shareholder value as the only responsibility a corporation has, followed by Jack Welch’s popularizing of that nutty idea (which he later regretted) killed the middle and working class.
And CEO’s are paid not Drucker’s 20x average wages but 335x. Hoover’s free market stance seems ok with all that.
We need a different form of capitalism for your column to make sense.
Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:
Dear Angry Reader D Davidson,
Thank you for your note. As I look around the word at the plight of the poor—Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, Russia—I do not see capitalism as the common denominator of poverty, but rather communism, socialism, statism, and crony capitalism of a sort. Globalization did untold damage to the red-state interior, in that it helped weaken the idea of a nation of common values and citizens and made the global market the final arbiter of social policy.
Are you a Trump voter, given that your letter seems to echo the concerns, for example, as voiced by Steven Bannon at the Vatican not long ago, who called for an enlightened form of capitalism and an end to transnational elite governance? I really do not care what CEOs or the rich make—most like the Google team, Facebook people, Warren Buffet, and Gates, Inc. are leftist billionaires—as long as the middle classes and poor have good jobs, fairly priced housing and the hope that life will be better for their children. That is no longer the case, largely because an elite has decided that overregulation, utopian environmentalism, and creeping statism is good for everyone else but themselves who have the means to navigate around the consequences of their own ideologies.
We need to promote cheap energy, manufacturing jobs, vocational education, and begin to honor professions like farming, mining, timber, and construction rather than relegate them to caricatures and ossified entertainment (e.g., Ax-men, ice truckers, tuna boaters, etc.) on cable reality TV.
I have found among the rich somewhat of a difference between those who ‘made it’ farming, ranching, building, manufacturing, etc. vs. those who made it even more so through speculation, banking and insurance. The former often seems more real in some sense. As you can see I have a prejudice against the metrosexual Pajama Boy elite who profess one way and live quite another, although I confess it is often stereotyped and unfair.