The media have written Michael Bloomberg’s political obituary since his performance in the NBC Democratic debate on Wednesday night, but he has experienced a series of damaging leaks since he entered the presidential race. Many of these were self-inflicted wounds that reveal his concerning approach to work. One of these formed the basis of this week’s Acton Commentary, “Michael Bloomberg’s fatal conceit.”
Video has surfaced showing Bloomberg saying that farming took less “gray matter” than work in the modern information economy. This week’s Acton Commentary faults Bloomberg less for his views of ancient agriculture than for his statement, “I could teach anybody … to be a farmer.”
The commentary quotes Friedrich von Hayek’s book The Fatal Conceit, which underscores that no one person has all the information sufficient to regulate employment or economic activity. Every form of work requires its own skill and genius. The mastery of any form of work comes, in the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, by seeing creation as a gift “to increase and to develop with respect and in harmony, following its rhythms and logic in accordance with God’s plan.” The commentary states:
The Nanny State notion that the state has the correct answer for every citizen, in every case, becomes genuinely destructive when applied to business. Bloomberg, whose eponymous news service publishes valuable and perceptive financial information, has a greater understanding of trade and markets than many others in the presidential race. He, and all his competitors, must learn that regulation destroys wealth, stifles economic growth, and substitutes the voice of the regulators for the “rhythms and logic” infused into all creation by divine providence.
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