Freeman

ARTICLE

The New Frontiersmen or--Pioneering For The Affluent Society

DECEMBER 01, 1960 by H.P.B. JENKINS

Economist at Fayetteville, Arkansas

It was a chilly afternoon

At story-telling time.

Old Kaspar turned his collar up

and spiked his rum-and-lime.

While Peterkin and Wilhelmine

Warmed up the metaphoric screen.

 

They saw a path that stretched away

Across the hills and plains,

Where men with burdens on their backs,

And many wrapped in chains,

Were plodding silently along

Without a spoken word or song.

 

"Is that a gang of foreign slaves?"

Cried little Peterkin.

"They’re builders of the New Frontier,"

Said Kaspar with a grin.

"They’re off to scale the distant heights

And pioneer unknown delights."

 

"Those men in chains," said Wilhelmine,

"They don’t look very spry."

"Those chains are union working rules

To keep employment high.

A man unchained might go astray

And work enough to earn his pay."

 

"What’s in the loads," asked Peterkin,

"They carry on their backs?"

"It’s shares of mounting public debt

And soaring payroll tax.

They’ve fallen heir to all the weight

Of paying for the Welfare State."

 

"Will they get rich," asked Wilhelmine,

"Upon the New Frontier?"

"The chance for that," Old Kaspar said,

"Gets smaller every year.

The Planners hold that private wealth

Is bad for economic health."

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

December 1960

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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