• The Unsung Heroes of Economics

    From Ilya Shambat@21:1/5 to All on Sun Nov 6 16:57:32 2022
    There have been some participants in the economy that have been adequately championed. Adam Smith championed the businessman; Karl Marx championed the worker; and the lesser-known Thorstein Veblen championed the engineer. But there have been other major
    participants in the economy that have not been adequately championed. These include:

    The scientist;

    The teacher;

    The military;

    The police;

    The priest;

    And the artist.

    Most of what business sells is technology, and technology comes from science. There have been many places that had the market system, and most of them were poor. The reason that we are more wealthy than Medieval Europe or Tsarist Russia is technology;
    and technology comes from science.

    Even the most anti-intellectual American drives a truck that comes from science; has TV and telephone that come from science; and uses such things as air conditioning and boom boxes that come from science. Scientists are at the root of most of what
    business sells. The scientist is not adequately compensated for the work that he does; the businessman gets more than his fair share.

    Another significant contributor to the economy is the teacher. The teacher educates both the businessman and the worker. Without the teacher most people would be unemployable. Many teachers are regarded as losers; however without them the businessman
    would not have the knowledge that he needs to do his job, and most workers would be unemployable.

    Still another major contributor is the military. The importance of the military was found out by Bertrand Aristide, who disbanded the military only to be out of a job when some drug runners got hold of major guns. There have been many situations in which
    a poorer population conquered a wealthier population. Both Russia and China had much more money than Genghis Khan, but Genghis Khan conquered both populations because he was a military genius who assembled an excellent army. America's solution to this
    problem – to have effective military hardware – is a correct one; and I completely endorse Reagan's doctrine of peace through strength and hope that the present administration continues this doctrine.

    Also important is the police. The police enforces property rights. Without property rights enforcement economic activity would be impossible. Everything that people produce would be pilfered, and the population would be plunged into poverty. This
    happened in Russia in 1990s, when the police was incompetent and the place was overrun by gangs. This continues to happen in the American inner city, where law enforcement does not know what it is doing and the conditions are so violent that no business
    would set up shop there. Police is required for enforcement of property rights, and without the police everyone would be very poor.

    I have also not heard enough said in defense of the priest and the artist. The priest is important because he teaches people moral principles, which are necessary for economic activity to take place. As for the artist, he is a visionary whose inspiration
    anticipates much of what people figure out later with their minds. Much of what we have now was anticipated by artistic inspiration; and while most artists don't make very much money other people make tons of money out of implementing their visions.

    Most of the above don't make very much money. However their contributions to prosperity are vast. A scientist or a teacher does not earn a lot of money; and many of these and others, being driven by the ideal of service, do not mind that state of affairs.
    Where they do revolt – rightfully – is when people decide that their work is worthless or that they are losers or irresponsible or anything of the sort even as they are benefiting from the work that they do. When they rail against and defund science
    while benefiting from science. When they ride around in trucks that science made possible with signs that say “My son beat up your honor students.” When they go around disrespecting the military while benefiting from its defense of their lives and
    property, or when they tell a police officer “fuck you pig.”

    Do I have personal reasons for saying this? I most certainly do. I was planning an academic career; but when I was at the university the academia was being defunded, and prospects for an academic career were scant. I went into the computer industry, and
    after that crashed I was under-employed. Probably the only good thing that came from that was me becoming acquainted with perspectives of people whose perspectives I otherwise would have never considered and gaining in compassion for other people. If I
    am to put in the kind of effort that is needed to get a PhD or anything of the sort, I have to know that the field will be there.

    So it is time that more people acknowledge these unsung heroes of economics. And it is time that more of such people be treated with respect.

    Ilya Shambat

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