But as John Pfaff, a criminal justice expert at Fordham Law School, pointed out onTwitter, the criminalization of drugs isn’t the sole cause of mass incarceration. Most people in state prisons, which make up a great majority of the prison system, are violent offenders. Only in the much smaller federal system is there a huge number of drug offenders.
The truly unique feature of [Homo Sapiens or Sapiens] language is not its ability to transmit information about the [tangible]. Rather, it’s the ability to transmit information about things that do not exist at all. As far as we know, only Sapiens can talk about entire kinds of entities that they have never seen, touched or smelled.
The conventional Canadian view is that American beer is bad; watery and weak. Yet American breweries produce some of the world’s best beers – superb brews coming out of microbreweries across the country.
Aside from Grandma Stalin there, there’s not a lot of overtly Soviet iconography on display around the Bernieverse, but the word “socialism” is on a great many lips. Not Bernie’s lips, for heaven’s sake: The guy’s running for president. But Tara Monson, a young mother who has come out to the UAW hall to support her candidate, is pretty straightforward about her issues: “Socialism,” she says. “My husband’s been trying to get me to move to a socialist country for years — but now, maybe, we’ll get it here.” The socialist country she has in mind is Norway, which of course isn’t a socialist country at all: It’s an oil emirate. Monson is a classic American radical, which is to say, a wounded teenager in an adult’s body: Asked what drew her to socialism and Bernie, she says that she is “very atheist,” and that her Catholic parents were not accepting of this. She goes on to cite her “social views,” and by the time she gets around to the economic questions, she’s not Helle Thorning-Schmidt — she’s Pat Buchanan, complaining about “sending our jobs overseas.”
L’Internationale, my patootie. This is national socialism.
For 300 years before Smith, Western Europe was dominated by an economic system known as “mercantilism.” Though it provided for modest improvements in life and liberty over the feudalism that came before, it was a system rooted in error that stifled enterprise and treated individuals as pawns of the state.
Mercantilist thinkers believed that the world’s wealth was a fixed pie, giving rise to endless conflict between nations. After all, if you think there’s only so much and you want more of it, you’ve got to take it from someone else.
Mercantilists were economic nationalists. Foreign goods, they thought, were sufficiently harmful to the domestic economy so that government policy should be marshaled to promote exports and restrict imports. Instead of imported goods, they wanted exports to be paid for by foreigners in gold and silver. To the mercantilist, the precious metals were the very definition of wealth, especially to the extent that they piled up in the coffers of the monarch.
Because they had little sympathy for self-interest, the profit motive and the operation of prices, mercantilists wanted governments to bestow monopoly privileges upon a favored few. In Britain, the king even granted a protected monopoly over the production of playing cards to a particular, highly-placed noble.
Economics in the late 18th century was not yet a focused subject of its own, but rather a poorly organized compartment of what was known as “moral philosophy.” Smith’s first of two books, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, was published in 1759 when he held the chair of moral philosophy at Glasgow University. He was the first moral philosopher to recognize that the business of enterprise — and all the motives and actions in the marketplace that give rise to it — was deserving of careful, full-time study as a modern discipline of social science.
In fact, if you played a game on your phone today, listened to music online or video-phoned a friend, chances are you used a Swedish company. Skype became Stockholm’s first unicorn when it was bought by eBay for $2.6bn in 2005 – just two years after it launched – and has since been followed by Spotify, Candy Crush parent King, Minecraft maker Mojang and the payments service Klarna.
“Stockholm is becoming a world leader in technology,” Skype creator Niklas Zennström, who also founded London-based Atomico, said earlier this month at the inaugural Brilliant Minds conference, the brainchild of music manager Ash Pournouri and Spotify founder Daniel Ek. “We are living in an extraordinary time, and there is no doubt that Sweden is a leader in this proud new world. The dream we had of becoming a tech community 10 to 15 years ago is now becoming a reality.”