What ails the working class?

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Late last month I was privileged to be asked to speak at a Heritage Foundation event on the subject of the continuing travails of America’s working class, alongside Oren Cass of American Compass, Nick Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, and former Senator Rick Santorum. Every speaker made useful contributions to our understanding of this problem.

My remarks were based on my paper that the Heritage Foundation published last week, with some personal observations based on what happened to the working class in my home town in England. I concentrated on the crisis in dynamism, which by my reckoning is largely the product of over-regulation of business at federal, state, and local levels. I also called attention to the problem of increasing corporatism, which is partly the product of over-regulation, but which is also reinforced by an increasingly monolithic managerial class that prefers to see business as a means to solve global problems rather than an important end in itself.

This last point relates to a question the Czech economist Joseph Schumpeter asked and which exercised CEI’s founder Fred Smith – can capitalism survive if it produces a class of intellectuals that works against it? I’ll have more to say on this in the coming weeks.