National Review / Digital
Occupy Salem
A witch hunt on Wall Street

(Yomiuri Shimbun/AP)


Allow me to make a prediction: Life is never going to get easier for the American middle class. Globalization is a fact, like the weather, and like the weather it is not manageable. It is irreversible, and the desire to reverse it is inhumane, because globalization is making the world better. But there are tradeoffs. The emergence of larger markets and efficiently distributed global supply chains acts as an amplifier: The same highly valued set of skills that would have earned you a nice, comfortable living back when your whole world was Kansas City or southeastern Pennsylvania or various tri-state areas will make you very, very rich when your world is the world. The same competition, status anxiety, and insecurity that has marked life for most people throughout most of history will similarly be compounded when less-skilled workers find themselves competing in a marketplace of billions rather than thousands. You can try passing laws against emerging markets and efficient global supply chains. Good luck with that — the thing to keep in mind is that Robinson Crusoe was poor, and that North Korea is poor for the same reason. Autarky is for fools.

The main things that can and should be done to address this are improving our K–12 education system, which will necessitate breaking the public-sector unions’ death grip on it, and improving our investment environment by adopting a more intelligent and liberal system of taxation and regulation, along with shrinking the overall footprint of government across the federal, state, and local levels. It is no mystery how to do this. But you won’t hear any support for doing it from Occupy Wall Street.

October 31, 2011    |     Volume LXIII, No. 20

  • Bobby Jindal is leading Louisiana’s revival.
  • Celebrating a remarkable Supreme Court tenure.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Tracy Lee Simmons reviews James Madison, by Richard Brookhiser.
  • William Tucker reviews The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, by Daniel Yergin.
  • Michael Novak reviews The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan, by Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C.
  • Eli Lehrer reviews The Collapse of American Criminal Justice, by William J. Stuntz.
  • Ross Douthat reviews The Ides of March.
  • John Derbyshire laments the passing of ‘supererogate’ — and more.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
The Bent Pin  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .