An Entertaining Way to Learn About Contemporary US Capitalism

I have discovered a very good way to learn about a topic is to read about something related – the topic serves as a foundation or is always in the background. For example, a good way to learn about the rise of the Nazis in the inter-war period in Germany is to read about something else that happened in Germany during the same time period. I had this experience with Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts.

A consistent day-by-day reading of Kevin Williamson in the National Review provides very, very, good insight into the inner workings of our society. From an article published today:

When they rail against capitalism, automation, trade, and the like, they resemble nothing so much as those hominids at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, shrieking hysterically at something that is simply beyond their comprehension. A social machine is different from an ordinary mechanical one, but you can still throw sand in the gears.

You should read today’s article: The Social Machine in full.

8 thoughts on “An Entertaining Way to Learn About Contemporary US Capitalism”

  1. The Social Machine was a very interesting read, thanks for posting it! I also support your analysis of learning things. For me, Calculus would never make sense until I applied it in Physics. This same principle applies to everything, which is why I never argue with someone who says they’ve “read an article about it.” If someone starts a discussion with “This is similar to…” or “This directly relates to…” I am much more willing to listen to them because, most of the time, they are the ones who actually know what they’re talking about.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I think you have hinted at a foundation for biblical integration. When we understand and interpret theory and events in the context of biblical knowledge/understanding/worldview we have started to think in a more eternally significant way.

  2. I never thought about it that way, but that makes sense. To help understand what happens, read what else is happening during that time.

  3. I appreciate this straight to the point short article because I think it is very applicable. I also think it very true to help understand a certain topic it will be very helpful to fully understand the context. Reading something related to the topic and knowing what else happened in that time period is extremely helpful.

  4. This was a very interesting read. I liked the main focus of the article, “jobs are a means and not an end.” They used the example of the automobile industry. The focus is to make cars, not to make jobs and essentially politicians are trying to pick apart our large “social machine” when they shouldn’t. It’s a lot like the economy and general. When left to itself, with supply and demand, it should reach equilibrium of goods/services provided and those who buy them. When the government tries to interfere, it changes that equilibrium. The same goes for our overall social machine with jobs. Great article!

  5. Good read and interesting comments on supplementary reading to provide context for related historically issues. I find this to be the case as well, as the procedure allows for a more complete understanding of ideologies and culture of the time period analyzed.

  6. I especially like how the article comes to the conclusion that “all jobs are temporary.” I do not agree that ALL jobs are. Perhaps the better word to use is all jobs “evolve.” Even so, to discredit construction projects just because they are “temporary” is a poor excuse society easily gives in to. Some income is better than none!

    1. Chelsea,

      What types of jobs are “permanent”? When I was young we used to think that some businesses (maybe ATT, GM, IBM, etc.) would provide employment for life – perhaps this was defined as permanent at the time. But, the permanence did not pan out.

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