Essay: The Secret of Our Success

It is fitting that during Inauguration week, the stock market should have recovered nearly to its level of Black Monday, the day of the 1987 crash. Fitting, because an Inauguration is more than just a transfer of power. It is a ritual re-enactment of the resilience, the suppleness of American life.

Every four years Americans remind themselves that, as Reagan loved to say (Tom Paine too), "We have it in our power to start the world over again." Reagan was exaggerating, as usual. But, as usual, he was on to something: capitalism's genius for what Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction," the...

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