I have finished and I am awe-struck- by the incredible scholarship, by the vision and creativity, and by the organization and presentation. It is a wonderful and profoundly inspiring piece of work. I wish you were around to answer my questions and explain some technical terms which I have trouble getting my head around. However, I found most of it remarkably accessible to the financially uneducated and you deserve enormous congratulations for making it so.
Three questions come to mind at the moment. First: you say the “choice is for either a twenty-first century of peace and plenty through worldwide economic common purpose or more folly and violence from a continues concentration of wealth and power” (243, italics mine). But is it really that clear-cut? Isn’t religion another important component in this choice? As Charles Kimball has said,”Religion is arguably the most powerful and persuasive force on earth” (When Religion Becomes Evil 1), and he goes on to quote William Sloane Coffin who stated that “religious people should be boundary crossers”(199). I realize that religion isn’t part of your focus at this point, but maybe it would be interesting to discuss it in the way that you address education so convincingly in hypothesis #8.
My second question relates to your statement that “the collectivists, pursing noble goals but limited to their grasp of economics, have not been effective at achieving what they hoped to achieve”? But what about Sweden? Hasn’t that country done a pretty good job in bringing peace and plenty to its citizens?
Finally, it seems to me you give poor old Alexander Hamilton somewhat short shrift. You may be correct in saying that Hamilton didn’t trust people to govern themselves (464) and that he “favored a strong central government with privileges for the financial establishment” (464), but from my understanding of that period many of his policies- assumption of the debts of states, centralized banking, stabilization of the currency- were essential to the survival of the Republic. While recognizing his elitism and what Joseph Ellis calls “his take-charge temperament and his dashing Hamilton-to-the-rescue demeanor” (Founding Brothers 60), it seems to me that both Ellis and David McCullough give the devil his due. Ellis claims that “Hamilton believed- and he had a good deal of evidence to support his belief- that the very survival of the infant American nation was at stake” (40) and further states that “the economy of the United States was a tangled mess of foreign and domestic debt that he was determined to unravel, then place on firm fiscal footing by restoring public credit” (61), and McCullough tells us that his “proposed national bank, the centerpiece of his plan…had the support of nearly everyone” (John Adams 428). I think its interesting, too, that Ellis lists Adam Smith as one of “the theoretical sources that may have shaped [Hamilon’s] thinking” (61). Perhaps Jeffersonian idealism was just not practical enough at that moment.
These are just thoughts are in no way meant to devaluate the brilliance of Democratic Capitalism. It is a fantastic piece of work for which we send our heartfelt congratulations. We are proud to call you our friend!
Lots of love to you both,