A Progressive review of *Stubborn Attachments*

By Joshua Kim, here are a few excerpts:

An oddity of Stubborn Attachments is that Cowen is reluctant to apply his pro-economic growth philosophy to real-world political choices.

[TC: that is on purpose of course]

Stubborn Attachments would have been more persuasive if Cowen was more willing to explore the implications of his philosophy on the political and policy choices before us. The question is, are progressive values are at odds with the belief that long-term economic growth is the engine of progress?


Nor does Cowen answer the question of at what point a wealthy society should be able to provide a measure of economic security to all of its citizens? Does the guarantee that work should come with a living wage and that everyone deserves access to health care and education incompatible with a long-term focus on economic progress?

As is always the case with a Cowen book, his writing will make you think. Stubborn Attachments is too abstract for my tastes.  But I’m happy to have spent 3.5 hours arguing with Cowen.

If he reads MR, he can always spend more.


The progressives see everything in political terms. In a way, that makes sense - their economic view of the world is contrary to human nature. To bring about their economic vision would require a powerful, vast, and largely unresponsive administrative state, to which there is much resistance. Hence, they are perpetually frustrated ... and angry.

Laws and policies have consequences, among them the need for enforcement and an enforcer.

To them I say, "good luck with that".


+10. We should give progressives free helicopter rides!! That'll show em!

+@), for real!

Literally the entire modern world is contrary to human nature. Your point is void.

Yeah... no, it doesn't work like that. If you think his point is wrong or void you have to do more than throw a hissy fit to prove it.

Eh, everybody is angry these days, even Trumpistas. "Muh feelz" rules the Trumpista minds and it shows.

Christianity is contrary to human nature. I recommend it none the less.

The conservatives see everything in political terms. In a way, that makes sense - their economic view of the world is contrary to human nature. To bring about their economic vision would require a powerful, vast, and largely unresponsive administrative state, to which there is much resistance. Hence, they are perpetually frustrated ... and angry.

Laws and policies have consequences, among them the need for enforcement and an enforcer.

To them I say, "good luck with that".

I guess I touched a nerve or two! :)

Does the guarantee that work should come with a living wage and that everyone deserves access to health care and education incompatible with a long-term focus on economic progress?

Trade-offs, how do they work?

In progressive world, the idea of "trade-offs" is reactionary hokum, much the same way there was actually no contradiction or tension at all between "freedom" and "equality" under Jacobinism, Marxism and communism. If you shout slogans enough, it becomes true.

to be fair, politicians of most stripes ignore trade-offs and portray everything as win-win. conservatives are largely no different and by singling out progressives, you’re showing your own bias.

Depends what kind of conservative. A free-market libertarian like Tyler who believes that, no matter what, infinite growth is a net good? Sure, that's ignoring a tradeoff, and libertarians tend to ignore the drawbacks of their policies. But it's believing there are no trade-offs is a hallmark of utopian thinking, which, for the moment, is predominantly a progressive trait (there have certainly been more right-wing and libertarian utopians, just not really at the present in any strength, neoconservative utopianism died with the Iraq War). Unless you want to define "trade-offs" in such an expansive way that "everybody does it", at which point the term becomes meaningless and singling out someone for invoking the term becomes a demonstration of your own bias.

tl;dr I know you are, but what am I?

You know that saying which the Turkish president Erdogan reportedly said “ democracy is like a bus, once you get where you’re going you get off”.

There’s a parallel here with the progressive attitude towards the economy: as if economic growth is only a means to achieving a more equal society which is not troubled by stresses of scarcity or constraints, and not the expression of a free society living and trading as it wants.

RR: "economic growth is ... the expression of a free society living and trading as it wants"

I mean, it's not though. Economic growth doesn't just happen due to a more free economy. Coercion and institutions and norms which severely curtail peoples freedoms are pretty important.

The world where people are most free to do as they want, working or not working, paying to support militaries to defend against invasion or choosing not to with no coercion, doing what rich people want them to or flipping them the bird, and so on, may not be the one with the most economic growth.

Also, nitpick on his lack of editor, should be "is", not "does".

("Work should come with a living wage" is not so much "incompatible with a long-term focus on economic progress" as completely misunderstanding how jobs and wages even work and what they are.

Jobs are things you do rather than leisure, because you desire payment more than leisure [for obvious good reasons].

Pay is based on value added via labor, de minimus, and in practice also the supply/demand curve for the labor in question.

They are not "things you have because you are a person and should have one," and pay based on "what you need for whatever someone else has decided is the minimum standard of living".

People who really want a minimum standard of living should leave wage markets alone and push for the thing they actually want - massive state subsidies.

Not that they're not horribly distorting, but at least they don't pretend "jobs are there to pay you" and have no concept of the value of labor being vaguely related to pay.)

Pay is based on value added via labor, de minimus, and in practice also the supply/demand curve for the labor in question.

Sure, the "value added", just as Marx pointed out.

Both Marx and Adam Smith.

UN Declaration of Human Rights: 23 (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection." Or his starting point is something closer to this. It amazes me that this document is almost entirely ignored on this blog. (Not that I agree with all of it, but at least it gives us a baseline when claims about what a job "should" be are made.)

That same document lists paid vacation as a "human right". As something for developed countries to aspire to that document is admirable. As an actual declaration of reasonable human rights that document is a farce.

That's interesting because everyone else ignores it, too, so I'm not sure why you'd single out this blog in particular.

Screw the UN and it's documents and proclamations. I don't remember agreeing to that.

We need to reexamine the charter of the UN. The sole focus of the org should be protocols between nations. It has no business telling me the definition of work and compensation.

I’m humming dick!

you are off your meds again, you poor little person.

how sad it must be to be fixated on sex between other people.

We all know you would like to be normal.

Fortunately, that is possible.

Pray to God, find a spiritual counselor.

We do not mind the endless entertainment you have provided,
with your obvious sickness and obvious love of vulgarity.

God loves you, too, and God is not offended by your sins
He just wants you to be better.

Wake up, little fellow, there is no point living in a world where you rejoice in picturing the world as a place where you can do no better than spend your time

beclouding yourself with ugly, sad, unpleasant comments.

Find a nice girl ---- you can do it. For every body, there is somebody who can love them.

Please take my advice
I have brought worse losers than you
from their despair
to a place where they realize
God loves us all.
Tomorrow, or even later tonight,
you can be a real person,
someone worthy of the love of another.

Horse shit. Most of the programs described are social insurance schemes and solve collective action problems which markets fail to. No trade offs present.

Yeah, "social insurance schemes" that daddy state signed in my name before I was born but which I would have gladly signed if I could go back in time do that. Essentially, these Rawlsian justifications for state control of social resources are just rhetoric to justify the privileges of the people who benefit from State's money.

Ouch! But true!

None of the things described are collective action problems. I'm thinking you do not have a solid understanding of what that term means.

[TC: that is on purpose of course]

And so self-recommendingly Straussian.

'he can always spend more'

Especially if he follows good archival practices.

Maybe the Straussian approach is overrated

Are you human?

It is quite possible to have fairly progressive political views while also have very orthodox economic views. The logic of whether programs like basic income are good for economic growth depend on your estimates of the slopes of a cornucopia of curves. Not just the infamous Laffer Curve, but marginal propensities to consume, price elasticities of aggregate supply and demand, the rate at which marginal utility associated with the next dollar of wealth/income/spending changes, etc. All other big ticket progressive agenda issues involve even more variables, because they involve all the same redistributionary variables alongside questions like the efficacy of marginal education spending etc etc. At some point, the policies do tend to call for a "powerful, vast... administrative state". But one could have a very progressive state, one with universal basic income and medicare for all for example, without any big philosophical change in one's economic system or aversion to unresponsive and adversarial government.

One of the great things about the Stubborn Attachments approach though, is that it greatly simplifies all these discussions by privileging growth. If guaranteeing everybody access to a higher standard of healthcare and education than the status quo results in measurably slower economic growth over the very long term, that's enough reason to reject those policies.

In my view, the empirical evidence suggests that increasing the amount of redistribution in the US economy, and subsidizing people who choose to taking higher-risk, higher-reward career paths, each independently is likely to improve economic growth at least in the medium term (i.e. next few decades) and fairly likely to move the needle even in the true long term. Inequality has already gotten to the point where it saps aggregate demand quite a bit, and individual risk aversion seems to suboptimize people's aggregate decisionmaking when it comes to maximizing the expected value of their lifetime earnings, which are the best proxy I know for their lifetime contributions to long term economic growth.

Good comment. Hayek saw the opportunity for true "social insurance" (pensions and health care) to play a role in his open society.

"Does the guarantee that work should come with a living wage and that everyone deserves access to health care and education incompatible with a long-term focus on economic progress?"

This stuff is regarded today as "rights", but it's more accurate to think of this as "things we believe we can deliver to all citizens for the foreseeable future based on the level of wealth we have generated to date and hope to be able to continue to generate".

And of course, only countries that have enjoyed the spectacular growth of the past couple centuries find themselves in this position.

The idea that "we have arrived" and can now cut up the pie equally is tempting but silly. Reminds of the Mississippi legislature that wanted to abolish the patent office a century ago because everything had already been invented.

Leave the golden goose alone a while yet.

Yep. I would just add that all the "we's" in there are some frustrating obfuscations that occur all the time with this kind of rhetoric. "We" didn't do anything. The levels of wealth that 'we' generate are all over the effin' map, so I don't see why it makes any sense to say that 'we' arrived anywhere or speak of services 'we' can deliver.

Progressive speech needs to be decoded. Consider the flexible meanings of words like "we". The progressive meaning of "we" is context sensitive, as is the word "free".

For example, when a progressive says "we" are entitled to "free" college education, they mean everyone ("we") gets the education but someone else - "you" - gets to pay for it. For the recipient, the education is "free", but the payer is not "free" to say no.

Herein lies the probably with positive rights - someone else has to provide them, and they are not free to choose not to.

This is why "progressives" are full of sh*t.

I meant, "herein lies the problem".

Autocorrect! Grrrrrr!

I find this sort of comment a bit problematic. I think progressives believe that education should be part of the social network a society is contractually obligated to provide through taxes. But when you say 'they' don't want to pay, do you mean that progressives think that 'they' should get cheap education when young, and avoid paying their fair share in taxes while older, when they have actual well-paying jobs that they were able to get through obtaining education?

I know this is perspective based, but that sounds a lot more like 'boomers' than 'progressives' to me....

+1. Better than the usual comment here. Inequality is the elephant in the room but one side takes it too far and the other side pretends it doesn't exist. Like it or not a redistributive state with a strong free market is the worst of all alternatives except for all the others and one that America needs to champion as the way forward. Keep incentives to work strong so that the top producers can produce and let the state do its job to redistribute so no one goes without. Otherwise what's the point of industrializing and making all this product if the people who need it most can't get access to it. Also, keep the redistribution scheme simple with some market-like mechanisms like basic income in the form of cash that's free to spend to minimize corruption and inefficiencies. Again like it or not, the top 20% of the US will do most of the production and reap most of the rewards but the bottom 80% need their monthly nut too.

>Cowen is reluctant to apply his pro-economic growth philosophy to real-world political choices.

In other words, he will talk a good game when he finds it necessary, but voted Dem his entire life, and is never going to stop.

Why are you so stupid?

Stupid is the default setting


Cowen is right about many things, and wrong about many things.
He is probably 2 standard deviations closer to understanding the world (measuring understanding, one statistical deviation from another, by comparing - as one compares one complex array of lights on one island to another differently complex array of lights on a similar island, near each other on a long-lost salty sea) (id est, measuring intellectual effort, God bless the heart of anyone who is trying, against the object on which the effort - that object which I called the world, but if I had more time, I could describe it better and with more fond and brave and helpful detail - is directed) than the average commenter here (and the average commenter here is, well, above average....), ....and anyone who gives his (Cowen's) books less than 5 stars on Amazon needs to spend a lot of time explaining (explaining the distinction between the 5 star world, as exemplified by writers that NO 99 PERCENT OF AMERICANS AND NO 99.9 PERCENT OF TODAY'S EUROPEANS COULD "CONFIDENTLY" NAME) what, explaining what, they would and could have should explained better (or not, there are always exceptions, when we discuss the truths of the world ---- poor little Nietzsche and Heidegger got caught up listening to their own voices, that worked for Hamlet and Rosalind, but they lived in the blessed world of Shakespeariana, (well, Rosalind, anyway, sorry to say but not Hamlet) and Nietzsche and Heidegger were just professors, and their wives were not impressed, not as much as they would have been impressed if they were

gifted linguists, devoted faith healers, people who see the world and say

thank you Lord.

Of course he votes for the Democrats, of course he is not pro-life, FFS he is an academician by profession, what do you expect?, and of course he has no idea of whether or not the USA in 2018 is a place that will, millennia from now, be remembered as a place where true art, true philosophy, and so on, found a home.

Let us treat each other with respect, there is much to be learned when we try to understand

(a) there are a finite number of human beings and
(b) God loves us all.

Tfw (that feeling when) you write a long comment describing
(a) that one time you met an angel not far from Bailey's Crossroads and
(b) that other time you walked for hours in those firefly illuminated woods, a Northern Virginia circa 2018 forest of sorts, more beautiful than any landscape or nightscape any genius of painting has ever painted and
(c) you wrote this long comment explaining why those experiences led you to believe that Philippians was the best book in the Bible because
(d) it explained, in a way you thought was convincing, that there are a finite number of human beings and God loves us all and
(e) when you tried to post y your reflections, you put your email in the author line and your author name in the email line, and you clicked to enter, and it all vanishes
(f) then you remember that you are blessed to know this is not really 2018, at least not the way most people think it is 2018.

(g) there are a finite number of human beings and
(h) God loves us all.

trap money benny ben Curtis on the swall

despite the dozens of MR commenters who have told me,
either recently or back in the day,
in their lovable little Aspergerian way,
that I have nothing useful to say,
there are nevertheless a very finite number of us and, you see,
God loves us all, tomorrow, yesterday, and today.
Maybe I write boringly (ok, probably not) but God writes beautifully.
I remember.

Ephesians is good too but if you are going to try your best to understand why God loves the losers you love

Philippians is the real deal.

Go back to your closet, that profound hall of mirrors where the flags drape around the Klondike bars and go pros that stack the where the watches once were, and check on the mice and men, sir, no doubt, this is living the dream.

No dream, my young friend, and I have no closet - having a closet is beneath me, and beneath you, too, my sad adversarial friend....

The profundity is this -

the world is large and it is yours

just let go of your attachment to 2018

I have no respect for closets, or flags, or mirrors, profound or not, and the Klondike is a washpot.

Live your dream yourself, my friend, and forget all those lies that the Steinbecks and Millers tried to tell you -
You are better than that!

I told my dog (her name was Venus, a good name but not a name I would have ever given her) .... I told my dog, Venus, Venus, I said , in this world you have to be oh so smart or oh so empathetic ( cor ad cor loquitur)
(oh so smart or oh so kind, in one syllable words)
Venus chose well

The Platonic ideal of a creature with love in her almost human, almost angelic heart

I remember
wake up
millions of angels, thousands of us

Philippians 3:10-11 is actually much more cheerful than it sounds
trust me or not
but it is

Remember those nights with those billions of insects - driving through Canadian woods, feeling bad about all the insects wiping out on your windshield?

Millions of angels for every one of those insects
Good is powerful and numerous
You meet an angel once and that angel can remember you forever
no matter who you are, one of trillions and trillions of bugs of
a human being
once an angel meets you that angel can remember you forever
and forever
said angel can remember everything you want to remember
about everybody you ever loved
wake up
it is no small thing to care about someone else, the angels understand, and there are a lot of them
it is no small thing to be a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world

trillions and trillions of bugs or
a human being
I remember

I understand, always and never, near and far,

that being said, you probably never did wonder what it is like to read these comment sections and be someone who understands the world.
Well, when you do understand the world - you won't be the first and you probably won't be the last - try and remember me kindly.
You can be oh so smart or oh so pleasant ...
Nobody will take advantage of you if God and his angels are on your side ....
so I recommend pleasant.
And for God's sake, try and remember that this
is not necessarily 2018.
The question is, who is in charge, us or the calendar
Once, long ago, I answered that question right
Longer ago than you can imagine
God loves us all.

(if you have read this, and have thought, why has this not been deleted by the interns - this is nonsense!!! what are the interns thinking, they should have deleted this long ago (2018) --- if you thought that, read again. As God is my witness, you are wrong if you think this is nonsense.) wake up.

"I understand, always and never, near or far" ....

sorry I did not see that before my last comment (the comment that started that being said)
I would have stopped, leaving what you said, not what I said, as the most recent comment, here and now

"always and never, near or far"

rem acu tetigisti

Yes, those pesky policy choices. Now that Cowen has posted excerpts from a review that makes that point, I won't anymore: Cowen acknowledges in this blog post that it was intentional (I suspected that to be the case). I don't have the same qualms about inequality as my liberal friends: my concern is strictly economic, not social. My concern is that high levels of inequality produce financial instability and a neglect of public investment, both of which are an enormous drag on economic growth.

The Chinese have very high levels of inequality but have very high levels of public investment. I think the central issue revolves around the return on that investment. Public projects are huge boondoggles in the USA -- primarily because of policies turning them into giant jobs projects that earn the sponsoring companies hoards of cash. Don't even get me started on the bureaucracy and legal hurdles these projects typically encounter. Nobody likes to overpay. So, more often than not, they don't.

Jones Beach was a roaring success. Look at Facebook, the issue is not fundamentally economic, its social. There are perverse incentives.

Ray, at least in UK and US the per capita growth rate seems linear. Or as another poster on here argues, no linear but to follow a predictable function over time nonetheless.

Hard to argue then that income inequality is bad for growth when the rate has been largely insensitive to changes. Also hard for the pro inequality crowd (who bizarrely also simultaneously tend not to want an underclass about either) to argue it speeds growth.

If inequality affects growth, does so in a very subtle manner indeed.

"everyone deserves access to health care and ..."

"Deserves"? Who is this prat who thinks he has a God-like ability to tell us what our just deserts are?

Brian Donohue's comment above is pretty good. These things are neither deserts nor rights. They are merely desired things.

Different people can reasonably desire different things. Especially those who suspect that they are going to have to pay for them.

Yes, they are only desired things, but the "progressives" believe they are positive rights to which they think everyone is entitled. I disagree with them. Those rights require tyranny to ensure.

THE NYT food section literally acts like drug dealers (with knives and plates etc). Is this a type of liberty? Are they basking in the liberty of expression? Or, is this an economic decision to raise profits? What kind of education system do we have where consumers see the third reich as a NYT asset that is worthy of business? Or is the inequality so bad that people think its ultimately good for these short term, short run bumps in the all mighty long-run?

If you are against positive rights, then you must offload all your property which require the power (aka "tyranny") of government to enforce. Not to mention the military, police, fire dept, etc. Good luck with the warlordism.


No. Wrong.

The property is mine. We have the laws and state to keep you from taking it from me. That is a negative right.

If property ownership is a positive right and I don't have it, the awesome power of the state is used to take property from someone else to give to me.

It's subtle, I know, and requires a nimble mind to grasp.

So humans are incapable of ethical judgments because we are not God? Who knew?

"Cowen is reluctant to apply his ... philosophy to real-world political choices."

To give the guy credit, that's pretty good sarcasm - the idea that the world of Trump, and Hellary, and Bernie, and the Cherokee Squaw is real is priceless. Everyone know that they are all puppets for Putin. Oh yes!

"The question is, are progressive values are at odds with the belief that long-term economic growth is the engine of progress?"

Quite often yes -- progressives do think they are at odds. I know a number who question the idea of economic growth -- whether it is possible or desirable for growth to continue on a 'finite earth' and whether it leads to endless materialism/consumerism (and aren't the number of kinds of socks, toothpaste and deodorant -- pace Bernie Sanders -- somehow appalling and making us miserable because there are too many choices)?

"Nor does Cowen answer the question of at what point a wealthy society should be able to provide a measure of economic security to all of its citizens? Does the guarantee that work should come with a living wage and that everyone deserves access to health care and education incompatible with a long-term focus on economic progress?"

Rich societies already all do this (and only rich societies ever have done so). But many of the preferred approaches of progressives are counterproductive and/or injurious to growth. Requiring every job be paid a 'living wage' is one of those terrible ideas with the potential to both impair growth and harm many of those it is intended to help.

Progressives need a lot of growth because they keep on ratcheting up welfare "rights." Redistribution cannot fully satisfy those ever increasing demands and aging societies will be even less able to satisfy them if most people are retired.

Progressive as bogeyman, discuss eh?

No doubt out there stealing the affections of your daughter and your hound dog.

One thing that has bothered me about the mantra against growth advocated by some progressives and others is that growth often happens as a result of a gain in knowledge.

That is, there seems to me to be a relationship between the growth of wealth and the growth of learning. For example, "just in time" inventory control systems require learning how to manage your supply chain, they require integrated tracking of items as they progress through manufacturing (which in turn required developments in computer technology and database technologies that were gained through learning), they require learning through experience with existing systems to refine them and make them better.

Computers are faster because we've learned how to make them faster, learning how to make fixtures and jigs and the other components which allow us to craft precision components from raw materials.

In fact, one could say that all of the wealth we have seen in today's world stem from this accumulated knowledge: after all, without knowledge, the specialized sand used to make supercomputers on a chip would only be useful--at best--for making crude sand castles.

So when we are told that we must curtail growth--to me, I hear a call for *ignorance.*

And one could say that long term economic growth is a side effect of this growth in knowledge--both specialized knowledge (such as a manufacturer learning to tweak his assembly line process to save a few steps) and generalized knowledge (such as scientific progress).

Considering this growth in knowledge as either orthogonal or antithetical to progress strikes me as beyond absurd.

Bit of a strawman. I'm no "progressive" but I've only ever seen the left argue for reduced use of resources (Greens) or reduced inequality / no classes (economic left).

You don't see much argument that growth is bad, but sometimes that if growth can be only be achieved by environmental degradation or inequality and class society, then if doing away with them means no growth, so much the worse for growth.

"Does the guarantee that work should come with a living wage and that everyone deserves access to health care and education incompatible with a long-term focus on economic progress? "


To ask the question is to answer it.

The goal of progressives is not growth. It is assumed that growth will occur. It doesn't of course, and progressive governments learn this lesson again and again and again, at great human cost.

These excerpts are perfect examples of "cognitive decoupling", necessary for scientific and rational thought, vs. the contrary mode which sees every argument embedded in a particular context. Arnold Kling highlighted the difference [http://www.arnoldkling.com/blog/de-coupling-vs-post-modernism/] in reference to a debate between decoupler Sam Harris and contextualist Ezra Klein [https://quillette.com/2018/05/25/groups-groups-idw/].

Here, TC deliberately decouples his thesis from current "political choices". He wants to debate the ideas on their own merits, not advance a political agenda. In contrast, Kim says, "No, first tell me whether these ideas boost or diminish progressive politics. Then, I'll tell you whether I like them." Ironic that (many) progressives, who like to label themselves "pro-science", also seem to reject the decoupling mode of thought, which is central to science and rationality more generally.

Moral decoupling is what convinces people that slaves are financial assets, and that peasants are kulaks who deserve famine and Gulag.

Good thing no one is suggesting moral decoupling, then

Is TC's (or Tyrone's?) quoting of this lightweight review with virtually no response the sickest of burns? Has TC gotten more salty lately?

The biggest problem of implementing the book's thesis is that in many cases, our idea of what creates the most wealth in the long run are untested. How much extra growth would we get if everyone in Africa had the education opportunities of an American 1 percenter? How about India? Would the world be better off in the long run if we forced major economic distress in China in exchange for turning them into a real market economy? How much freedom of the poor should we sacrifice in exchange of forcing what us in the elites might consider good choices? We know so little, we can justify anything. This makes the 'long term growth' goal be no different than the classic 'cut unnecessary government programs', which is is obviously correct for a lot of people that would never agree with each other on which programs are unnecessary.

A tremendous amount is well known about economic dynamics, despite the fact that macroeconomic experiments are impossible and unethical. That which promotes growth is extraordinarily well studied and documented based on centuries of policy and cultural changes. You can wring your hands about how we "really know", but you're really just prevaricating like a Flat Earther, Intelligent Designer, or Climate Change Denier.

And these are policy changes that all entail more freedom for the poor, unless you subscribe to the Marxist school where freedom is slavery.

Your answer suggests that you would be happy to bias for what freedoms *progressive* elites decide the poor should sacrifice for the sake of redistribution over growth. Are good intentions with demonstrably bad outcomes worth restricting the freedom of the poor, but proven growth policies that increase the actual freedom and well-being of the poor are beyond the pale because they have no clear redistributive intentions?

Work is a necessity of life; welfare is not. Life is a struggle; the welfare life lacks that struggle and becomes boring and meaningless. The progressives have achieved everything they set out to do 150 years ago. And things are still a mess. Heaven on earth is not possible. Read Solzhenitsyn's The Red Wheel, 3 volumes. Greed and envy are everywhere. Alternatively, read Julian Simon. The welfare state breeds poverty, ignorance and violence. Problems which are never resolved because the progressives don't want them to be resolved. They would be out of a job.

So maybe we need guaranteed Jobs for All (at least the able-bodied), instead of money for nothing welfare?

The question is "are progressive values are at odds with the belief that long-term economic growth is the engine of progress?"

The answer is YES. To apply the progressive values you need centralized bureaucracies to make the system work. The self-interest of these institutions is expanding their power and control while preventing any innovation that may upset their apple cart.

We are already limiting our economic growth rate via progressive bureaucratic organizations in all sectors outside of the permissionless Silicon Valley. Of course, they now want to slow the economic unicorns of Silicon Valley innovation.

Bureaucracies are a fact of civilization. We're no more going to get without them than we're going to get by without a military of a court system.

I'll admit I haven't read Stubborn Attachments, but I do hope that with a focus on long-term growth, you also focus heavily on certainty. If our ability to predict the future is low, knowing the difference between short-term growth followed by collapse and true sustainable long-term growth is pretty hard.

A lot of what economists usually criticize about things that slow-down growth can also been seen in the light of lowering the chance of catastrophic future events.

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