Thursday, November 10, 2005
Hayek and the Patels
Barry Augenbraun writes, in a letter to the Wall Street Journal (click here and scroll to third letter):
As Hayek and his disciples have pointed out, capitalism is the most democratic and virtuous of social systems: dollars are not black, white or red. And a society that accords social and cultural respect to those who succeed in the economic sphere is, by definition, more inclusive than one based on any other set of criteria.The reference in that last para, of course, is towards Europe, particularly France.
Let's take a really (one would think) remote cultural group in America: Hindus. Something like 40% of hotel/motel properties in America are owned by Patels and their cousins. And they contribute to American society at every level: philanthropic, cultural and social -- because of the respect they are accorded for their economic success. One generation: from immigrant to university donor and honoree.
But societies that place economic success well below "blood, soil and ancient shared memory" in their pantheon of virtues are fated to spend eternity trying to square the circle: integrating those who do not share in those historical criteria, and never will.