On our trip to Tennessee we passed through Williamson County in both Illinois and in our destination state. Thus (?), we have two posts today connecting Kevin Williamson, now back at NRO and maps.
Kevin has a nice article about clarity, Thanksgiving, and economics, For These Gifts We Are Truly Grateful, at NRO. In discussing human charity points out the obvious but rarely discussed point:
Here is a truth that almost never is spoken: All of the money that ever has been saved and invested in profit-seeking productive business enterprises has done incalculably more for the poor — more by many orders of magnitude — than has all of the money that ever has been put to charitable uses, formal or informal, mainly by preventing them from ever being poor in the first place. That saving and investment, and the innovation and labor that have gone along with them, are the only thing in the history of this little blue planet that has made its inhabitants less poor.
His observations lead us to the confusion of who to thank and a couple of recent examples. We are somewhere near the middle of the distribution on modern technical skills. A text said we could speed checkout at the pharmacy if we downloaded a matrix barcode for each prescription. We did. The shock came when the person at the window said we were the first to do it. The incremental gains necessary to expedite this sale are extensive: two levels of barcodes, cell phones, texting, Internet, etc.
Shortly after that we bought a set of AirPods. We couldn’t wait for Christmas because we have a trip in December. First warning: It is likely that we will be unable to post from 12/2-12/23. We were not sure we needed them but after being a first adopter at the pharmacy we were on a roll. They are great. Then through the wonders of cell phone confusion we heard The Offspring. It turns out that something good musically did come out of the eighties. It is our second new band this month. Don’t forget the Brooks Hubbard Band with its North Middlesex roots.
As this examples point out it is hard to know who to thank for the bounty we have been bestowed. Here is what Kevin says:
But as you cut into that turkey today, remember that somebody did the hard and dirty work of raising it, butchering it, packing it, driving the truck that brought it to your town, stocking the store shelves — and the very difficult work of figuring out how to get all that done, from domesticating turkeys to fueling that truck, a long unbroken line of human effort and ingenuity stretching back to the first guy who figured out how to chip a piece of stone a certain way to make it more useful.
Markets help us stand on giant’s shoulders and become giants ourselves. We are so fortunate that the growth fairy came to visit and stayed.