June 5, 2021
It’s your favorite (not to say only) cantankerous editor-in-chief P.J. O’Rourke here…
I know this past year has been mostly lacking in good news, but I happen to have some for you today. I’ve written a book or two in my time, and we’re re-releasing my bestseller about economics and freedom, Eat the Rich, complete with a brand-new chapter. The book is available completely free of charge to all American Consequences subscribers.
When I wrote Eat the Rich nearly a quarter-century ago, the digital revolution was still in its quaint infancy. This era predated Twitter cancel-culture mobs and viral GameStop Redditors. It was before we knew what the hell cryptocurrency and NFTs were (although I’d argue most of us are still a bit hazy on this)… and when “Amazon” made you think of Brazil, not Bezos… when Google was barely on our lips or fingertips… and our far-from-smart phones were not yet bodily appendages.
But now, the digital age gleefully wreaks havoc through the corridors of Congress, the streets of America, and the floors of Wall Street – with committed, sociopathic abandon… A free-flying bacchanal of anonymous code that kills our humanity while presenting itself as progress.
And what does this mean for the American economy? Back in the day (I know, I’m old), we understood economics as the process of gathering physical resources to produce real goods and services. How naive we were to think these analog proceedings would persist uninterrupted…
In 2021, the economy is now based on the endless gathering of ephemeral content while the goods and services (i.e., the profits) go to the usual suspects: Musk, Gates, and Zuckerberg, et al.
One unassuming bunch of 80 tech stocks has slain every other comparable group — for 17 years. And one rogue analyst is naming names right here.
A New Take on Old-School Economics
There is a classic definition of economics given by the late Paul Samuelson: “The study of how societies use scarce resources to produce valuable commodities and distribute them among different people.” This doesn’t seem to describe the modern economy.
But, really, economics is more primal than Samuelson thought it was… It’s about feeding, clothing, and sheltering ourselves. How we operate economically may alter out of all recognition. Why we do it is as immutable as human nature.
My book asks two core questions that don’t fade to gray or go lame with age. The first and most important question is, “Why are some countries rich and other countries poor?”
The second is, “How can an ordinary person figure out what the &%$# economists are talking about?”
How well I answered the second question is not for me to judge… But I think I did manage to find some answers to the first question.
So even though everything seems like a mess right now in this digital economy, I hope you can find some solace and clarity in this book – with the help of a new chapter explaining what’s going on with all those digits. Because I figure that if even I can understand the machinations of money, anyone can.
Remember, America, money may not buy you happiness, but it does buy you freedom. And freedom leaves you free to earn enough money to make everyone happy.
Before I sign off today, I want to take a moment and thank you for joining us here at American Consequences. We have some of the best writers and most intelligent political and financial content around… But without our smart and engaged readers, these words would just be hot air.
So thank you for coming along with me on this journey as we wade through the muck of Washington and Wall Street. And we truly love to hear from you – what you like (and, just as important, what you don’t like) about what we’ve got to say. Drop me a line at: [email protected]
Love us? Hate us? Let us know how we’re doing at [email protected].