brooks march 17

March 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

Always on the edge of brilliance and uncomfortable provocativeness in the style of layered non-sequitors. Makes him a unique performance. One usually thinks that such mixed talent will lead one side to learn from the other and take over.

Today he writes in the NYT

Over the centuries, the United States has been most conspicuous for one trait: manic energy. Americans work longer hours than any other people. We switch jobs more frequently, move more often, earn more and consume more.

What he leaves out is that this was not manic creativity, but depressed coping, driven by circumstances as the rich kept stealing the fruits of the country in one form or another. He goes on

Washington is temporarily at the center of the nation’s economic gravity and a noncommercial administration holds sway. This is an administration that has many lawyers and academics but almost no businesspeople in it, let alone self-made entrepreneurs. The president speaks passionately about education and health care reform, but he is strangely aloof from the banking crisis and displays no passion when speaking about commercial drive and success.

But if there is one thing we can be sure of, this pause will not last. The cultural DNA of the past 400 years will not be erased. The pendulum will swing hard. The gospel of success will recapture the imagination.

Somewhere right now there’s probably a smart publisher searching for the most unabashed, ambitious, pro-wealth, pro-success manuscript she can find, and in about three months she’ll pile it up in the nation’s bookstores. Somewhere there’s probably a TV producer thinking of hiring Jim Cramer to do a show to tell story after story of unapologetic business success. Somewhere there’s a politician finding a way to ride the commercial renaissance that is bound to come, ready to explain how government can sometimes nurture entrepreneurial greatness and sometimes should get out of the way.

Interesting to take a few high roller high testesterone vigilante types (morgan, edison, Vanderbuilt) and make an ideology for a eopleout of it, bypassing the fact that those rich got rich by incredible manipulation, crime (murder and violence), and disdain for nearly everybody.

The purpose of this kind of writing right now, its use, not to say Brooks’ motives, is to help the top keep on top. Friedman does the same. the question is, how badly rigged and criminalized is the activity to kep them there, and the rest of us sidelined?



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