from Kevin Williamson at National Review, Just Say ‘Yes’ to Prosperity;
The notable thing about the technology economy is that it is a peerless machine for turning intelligence into money. Sure, there are physical inputs for a company such as Apple, and warehouses and forklifts and such for Amazon, but what those companies really do is apply intelligence. Brainpower in, splendid products and services out, and what is most certainly literal tons of money produced for investors, workers, and shareholders. Nobody really planned that, and nobody is in charge. Even Bill Gates, one of the great tech-business minds of his time, was slow to grasp the economic importance of the Web. In its earliest days, Web commerce was more or less dismissed as a bunch of nerds messing around in their garages, which it was. A great deal of what’s best about the modern world is the result of nerds messing around in their garages: Google, the modern automobile business, rock ’n’ roll. Thank goodness nobody took it seriously enough to try to regulate it, manage it, and direct it — which would only have deformed it.
There are a few necessary conditions for prosperity: peace, property rights, stable and reasonably accountable government, good courts, effective education, etc. Those are necessary but not sufficient. The secret sauce is neglect — benign neglect, the willingness to trust people and let them alone to see what they can do, to let them try new things and fail nine times out of ten, even if trusting people means letting them reach across a border or two and cooperate with the nefarious Canadians or the Indians or the Chinese or the Mexicans.