The false prophets of growth

Countries don't become richer by listening to Michael Bloomberg

Thomas Friedman.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images for International New York Times)

The key political justification for capitalism is that it creates wealth. Whatever injustice there might have been in the "satanic mills" of northern England in the early 19th century, it couldn't be denied that at least Britain was quickly becoming far richer than its agrarian peers.

This justification has carried forward into present times, in the form of a postulated tradeoff between egalitarian policy (like Social Security or free childcare) and pro-business policy (like deregulation and lower taxes). By this logic, measures to achieve social justice must come at the expense of overall growth.

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