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IPFS News Link • Economic Theory

Causing Posperity

•, By El Gato Malo

Not long ago, this was "blatantly obvious civilizational bedrock about which the west broadly agreed."

Now it seems almost revolutionary.

And i suspect it's because we're asking the wrong questions.

This is the correct question.

"Why are these people poor?" is a meaningless question. it's the base state, nasty, brutish, and short.

Ask instead: "how did some few people manage to escape the historical norm of the grinding deprivation of being hopelessly poor?" because poverty is not some sort of error, it's the modal human outcome. like gravity, it must be overcome and lingers always seeking to pull you down.

There is a wonderful book on this entitled "the birth of plenty." it's an easy read, especially for a non-economist. it's replete with interesting examples and analyses. honestly, it ought to be a universal high school curriculum. the world would be far better if it were.

It identifies 4 basic pillars upon which the emergence of plenty rests and provides examples of how removing even one can topple the structure entire. (note that neither "democracy" nor "central banking" are one of them.)

They are:

property rights

scientific rationalism/scientific method

modern capital markets and banking

effective and widespread transportation and communication

This is what you need for markets to thrive and to create wealth. i would argue that in order to really sustain point 1 and especially to sustain point 3, you need as a sort of predicate substrate a form of morality and civilizational expectation rooted in fair dealing, keeping your word, and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. golden rules underpin golden ages.