an excerpt from an excellent interview with George Will on Econtalk-
Russ Roberts: And, more than good, of course. Not just materially lovely, but an opportunity for people for I would say, use the word as you do in your book, ‘flourish.’ Use their skills, dream, have a sense of self-respect and dignity. But there’s a large group of people–it’s not 50%: it’s something like maybe 15%, maybe it’s 20%, of the population–that is being left behind. That gets a horrible education. Grows up in a very unproductive, unencouraging culture. It’s a, used to be, in the inner cities, now it’s also in many rural areas. You talk about the entanglements of state benefits. We’ve also, of course, made it expensive to land somewhere, because we’ve made it extremely hard to build those buildings in America’s cities, where opportunity is still quite successful. So, it seems to me that the–ironically–the Wilsonian project has been great for the elite. And I would call the bulk of people. And really punishing and destructive of the people who struggle.
George Will: Progressivism was exactly a doctrine of the elites, by the elites, and for the elites. They said–I mean, their objection to market society was that markets function so annoying well, without the supervision of intellectuals. And that therefore Progressives were needed to run the administrative state–they didn’t use that term, but they set about building it without denoting it. And therefore, uh, it’s not an irony. It’s natural, that Progressivism has been good for the cognitive elites. And we have an increasingly, cognitively stratified country. There’s no question about that. The market is saying at the top of its lungs, ‘Stay in school.’ Because, I won’t say education, I’ll say credentials, because we have an enormous number of expensively-schooled imbeciles who are just awfully badly educated at great expense, still. Those who acquire the cognitive skills flourish in America today. Those who don’t, don’t. My grandfather was a Lutheran minister in Donora, Pennsylvania. I am really familiar with the Monongahela Valley. And what happened to the steel industry. What happened to the towns like Donora, Pennsylvania. And it’s devastating. But, the steel jobs aren’t coming back. Period. I remember when John McCain, to his great credit, as candidate in 2008 for the Presidency, went to Michigan and said,’ The jobs, the automobile jobs, are not coming back.’ Some have gone to Mexico; some have gone to South Korea; some are gone to South Carolina–
Russ Roberts: some have gone to robots–