Monday, June 09, 2008

J.K. Rowling on the Benefits of Failure--and Imagination

J.K. Rowling has delivered a wonderful commencement address at Harvard. Her respect for Harvard overflows, and the message she delivers should be understood in the context of a society, England, that is far kinder to the poor than our nation. Had she been in America, her ability to be a working (and sometimes not working) single mother, and still write her first Harry Potter novel would have been far more limited. Now, she is monetarily richer than the Queen--and she pointedly refuses to leave England for the lower-tax rates of America.

The reason I am so harsh on so many economists is that people have different and varied motivations, and not simply a motivation for more and more money. People are not really that "rational" and we should all be glad to that extent. An undying grasping of more and more money is an illness that can create just as much misery and injustice--particularly when it buys government power to oppress and destroy entire communities and nations.

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