Magazine July 27, 2020, Issue

The Economy of the Open Road 

Manhattan at sunset in New York City, N.Y., February 17, 2008 (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)
You may not strike it rich, but in the United States you’re free to try

In the United States, the road to economic success is open because the road to economic failure is open.

That’s the basic American proposition: We have an unregimented business culture, easy credit, a forgiving bankruptcy regime, and a “hold my beer” model of entrepreneurship. Sure, we are savages, but we invent basically all the cool stuff. You want to invent cool stuff, too, go to Palo Alto; you want to work in a bank, go to Zurich; you want to be a bureaucrat, go to Toulouse. There isn’t anything wrong with being a banker or a bureaucrat — the world needs

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