La crisi di idee del conservatorismo americano

BERKELEY – Sul lato sinistro della mia scrivania ci sono, al momento, tre volumi di recente pubblicazione: The Battle di Arthur Brooks, Coming Apart di Charles Murray e A Nation of Takers di Nicholas Eberstadt. Insieme, essi formano un importante filone intellettuale che, in gran parte, spiega anche il motivo per cui oggi il conservatorismo americano ha ben poco di costruttivo da dire sulla gestione dell'economia, nonché scarsa presa sul centro dell'elettorato americano. 

Ma andiamo un po' a ritroso nel tempo, fino alla nascita di quello che potremmo definire il conservatorismo moderno in Gran Bretagna e Francia all'inizio Ottocento. Allora, c'era chi, come Frédéric Bastiat e Jean-Baptiste Say, credeva che lo Stato dovesse utilizzare le persone senza lavoro per costruire infrastrutture, qualora l'attività dei mercati o la produzione fossero temporaneamente sospese. A questi, però, facevano da contrappeso coloro che, come Nassau Senior, si opponevano persino agli aiuti alimentari: nonostante un milione di persone avesse perso la vita durante la carestia delle patate in Irlanda, per lui "era una cifra a malapena sufficiente".

L'essenza del conservatorismo nella sua fase iniziale prevedeva la totale opposizione a qualunque forma di assicurazione sociale: rendere i poveri più ricchi li avrebbe fatti diventare più prolifici, e ciò avrebbe avuto come conseguenza la riduzione delle dimensioni delle aziende agricole (poiché la terra sarebbe stata divisa tra più eredi), la diminuzione della produttività della forza lavoro, e un ulteriore impoverimento della gente. La previdenza sociale non era considerata solo inutile, bensì anche controproducente.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in;
  1. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    Angela Merkel’s Endgame?

    The collapse of coalition negotiations has left German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing a stark choice between forming a minority government or calling for a new election. But would a minority government necessarily be as bad as Germans have traditionally thought?

  2. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.

  3. A GrabBike rider uses his mobile phone Bay Ismoyo/Getty Images

    The Platform Economy

    While developed countries in Europe, North America, and Asia are rapidly aging, emerging economies are predominantly youthful. Nigerian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese young people will shape global work trends at an increasingly rapid pace, bringing to bear their experience in dynamic informal markets on a tech-enabled gig economy.

  4. Trump Mario Tama/Getty Images

    Profiles in Discouragement

    One day, the United States will turn the page on Donald Trump. But, as Americans prepare to observe their Thanksgiving holiday, they should reflect that their country's culture and global standing will never recover fully from the wounds that his presidency is inflicting on them.

  5. Mugabe kisses Grace JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

    How Women Shape Coups

    In Zimbabwe, as in all coups, much behind-the-scenes plotting continues to take place in the aftermath of the military's overthrow of President Robert Mugabe. But who the eventual winners and losers are may depend, among other things, on the gender of the plotters.

  6. Oil barrels Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Getty Images

    The Abnormality of Oil

    At the 2017 Abu Dhabi Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, the consensus among industry executives was that oil prices will still be around $60 per barrel in November 2018. But there is evidence to suggest that the uptick in global growth and developments in Saudi Arabia will push the price as high as $80 in the meantime.

  7. Israeli soldier Menahem Kahana/Getty Images

    The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.