Friday, February 12, 2010

What is a Cambrian Capitalist?

I am an average American living in the Northeast U.S. with very strong convictions about a wide range of subjects. I am sure that people readily get the 'Capitalist' part of my blog title, but perhaps the 'Cambrian' part is a little less self-evident.

The Cambrian period of our earth's history was characterized by an explosion of life on the planet. Some suggest that this period marked the peak in the number of different species of life on the earth. Imagine the soupy, shallow seas teaming with life in an epic struggle to survive and thrive. This period, I believe, marks when our planet was most alive.

Cut to about 500 million years later, and another dramatic change occurred in the history of humanity. Humans, through their ingenuity and intellect, finally became the masters of their environment. We finally were able to overcome our own physical limitations to alter our surroundings and create improvements in the quality of our lives by great orders of magnitude. This period, the Industrial Revolution, was touched off via the arrangement of societies centered around a deep respect for human liberties, and based on the rule of laws and not men. These societies allowed for the organization of various stakeholders, in the pursuit of their own self-interests, to pool their private resources toward the achievement of their aims--Capitalism.

In the United States, the Silicon Valley of this period was located in western Pennsylvania. In the county of Cambria, where I was born and raised, private interests were busily innovating and improving methods of manufacturing the 'silicon' of the age--STEEL. By 1870, this area of the country housed the most modern and prolific steel manufacturing facilities in the world. Manufacturing firms were quickly born and in many cases quickly died, but those that survived and thrived, prospered mightily. Because of these early efforts, the world would be forever changed. Man could now build structures that would scrape the sky, structures that would allow travelers to bridge large bodies of water, and erect transport systems to integrate and unite a nation as large as a continent.

One hundred years later, I was born, and I got to witness from histories front row, a new change in the unforgiving ecosystem of capitalism. I witnessed the destruction of America's dominance of steel manufacturing in broad, swift strokes. This destruction is just as essential to the advancement of the human condition via capitalism, as the growth of the mighty steel industry was to western PA, and through my ruminations on this virtual parchment I intend to convey to you that the destruction wrought by capitalism is just as beautiful as the creation.

This blog is dedicated to the essential and harsh realities of liberty, a republic's governance, and capitalism--the three essential legs to creating an independent, self-directed and fulfilling life.

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