"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An Insight From the Past Into the Occupy Wall Street Protesters of the Present

James Pethokoukis, writing in the American Enterprise blog, quotes the famed economist Joseph Schumpeter regarding the type of people who make up discontented mobs in an advanced economy such as the Occupy Wall Street crowd:

The man who has gone through a college or university easily becomes psychically unemployable in manual occupations without necessarily acquiring employability in, say, professional work. All those who are unemployed or unsatisfactorily employed or unemployable drift into the vocations in which standards are least definite. … They swell the host of intellectuals … whose numbers hence increase disproportionately. They enter it in a thoroughly discontented frame of mind. Discontent breeds resentment … righteous indignation about the wrongs of capitalism.

I almost became one of these folks, and maybe I still am, although becoming a lawyer has allowed me to hide my unemployability, at least to date.   But I think Schumpeter is almost perfect here... we have allowed our universities the luxury of teaching gibberish to young people, subsidized by the wealth of the nation through loans filtered through unaccountable banking bureaucracies, and now we are reaping the whirlwind.  

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