Deepthink piece from Daniel M. Rothschild on “noncommercial capital” and the future of economic growth:
If the key economic trend of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was the growth of economies of scale—factories, big firms, multinationals—we are now seeing the opposite. And nowhere is the discontinuity with the industrial past more evident than with the new firms using smartphone apps and online markets to meet consumer demand for services ranging from physical storage space to urban transportation—a list that continues to expand and may soon impact virtually every corner of commercial life.
Libertarians have risen to the defense of these new firms against local regulators whose attitudes towards innovation run the gamut from apathetic to thuggish. But they have largely missed the most interesting part of the story: America is seeing what Peruvian development economist Hernando de Soto calls “dead capital” come to life.
The real trick might prove to be not being so successful as to attract Leviathan’s notice — and what a shameful thing to have to say in the United States of America.
Anyway, do please read the whole thing.