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Thursday, December 12, 2013

'There Is Neither Coast Nor Interior, Nor Border, Nor Breed, Nor Birth'

Brad DeLong:

...I would argue that the Hoover Institution has been a powerful and mighty coastal ideological voice arguing--and brainwashing--Americans in a direction that leads not just to a more unequal, but to a less entrepreneurial America (dominance of existing capital, especially inherited capital, you know, crowds out the next generation of entrepreneurs), a less-productive America (you need a middle-class society in order for the young to feel like they can afford to spend the time getting their education and training), and a more slowly-growing America as well (people without a safety net are not willing to take as many risks and accept as much change). And it has been, to a remarkable degree, successful.

Yet Hanson claims, from his perch in Hoover Tower, to speak not for those among whom he works--but rather to speak for the voiceless, who are not doing so well, and are being oppressed by... well, by Victor Davis Hanson, and his peers on the Left and Right Coasts.

Hanson sneers at Stanford University--home of the Hoover Institution that pays Victor Davis Hanson a fairly handsome salary:

The road to riches and influence... lies in being branded with a degree from... Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, or Berkeley. How well a Yale professor teaches an 18-year-old in a class on American history does not matter as much as the fact that the professor helps to stamp the student with the Ivy League logo...

Not so. It may not be the case that Stanford professors teach especially well, but boy do the students learn--and nobody has succeeded in getting students to learn as much, as reliably, outside an Ivy-class campus. And Hanson doesn't seem to get that neither Stanford nor Berkeley is an Ivy-League school. They did not "stamp" their students two generations ago with anything. The students, rather, stamped those two California universities by going out and changing the world, and so convincing the world that education had happened there. And potentially employers are now willing to extend credit to the next generation of students because it seems a good bet that education is still happening. ...

And the engine of high-tech entrepreneurship that is Silicon Valley comes in for Hanson's special scorn Silicon Valley is the best and highest example of innovative entrepreneurial capitalism the world has ever seen: the crown jewel of America's capitalist market economy. ...

But does Victor Davis Hanson like it? He laments that:

the next smart phone or search engine 5.0 will arise from the minds of tech geeks who pay $2,000 a month for studio apartments and drive BMWs in Menlo Park, Palo Alto, or Mountain View...

He wants:

Facebook and Apple [to] relocate operations to North Dakota to expose their geeky entrepreneurs to those who drive trucks and plow snow. Who knows--they might be able to afford a house, get married before 35, and have three rather than zero kids...

Has Hanson been to Malden, NC; Reno, NV; or Prineville, OR? Does he really not know that Apple (and Google, and Facebook) are eager to shift as much of their operations as they can out of high-priced Silicon Valley to wherever they can get good-quality well-educated go-getter entrepreneurial workers for less? ...

There's a whole lot more where that came from.

    Posted by on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 08:56 AM in Economics | Permalink  Comments (18)

          


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