Individualism, Creativity, and Innovation
by Alex Merced
Premise 1: That creativity comes from tapping into your inner child Kids say the darndest things don't they? It's this innocent nature that we admire in kids, when they are young before society begins socializing, limits, values, artificial barriers in their minds. Even then, during their adolescents they typically rebel against many of these constructs until one day the fight becomes to much and "they grow up". It's when one loses the ability to think beyond the barriers given to you that creativity dissapears and only your ability to see what is seeable is there, and you lose the ability to see what is not there. Think of all the people you consider creative, arn't they generally playful and childlike and then think of all the frumpy people you consider an "adult" and put their creativity into perspective. So in economics the idea of seeing the unseen is called "opportunity cost", the unseen costs of every action you take. To be able to appreciate opportunity cost you must have this childlike nature to see beyond the barriers given by society, you must be creative.
This is why I feel I see such a stark difference from when I see Austrian economist who are generally very light-hearted and humorous versus Keynesians who are usually more cynical and serious. Yet, it's the Austrians who are more equipped to see the unseen opportunity costs, and realize what could have been to look to the future to see what could be. Keyensians, on the other hand focus on only known results to draw conclusions, and only draw self-destructing solutions based on actions that have "visible" results even if the results don't accomplish anything. (For example, deficit spending has the visible result of increasing GDP but it doesn't fundamentally fix the real, unseen problem of diverting capital).
Another place I noticed this was on a recent interview with Ron Paul on Hardball where the serious and cynical Chris Matthew interviews the optimistic and light-hearted Ron Paul and discusses how Paul remind Matthews of his childhood hero, Barry Goldwater, but then he grew up. This was a sad and depressing statement that shows that at some point he gave in to the barriers that society imposes and became an "adult", while Ron Paul was able to this day in his 70's retain that childlike innocense that allows children to see things for what they are not how society wants them to be. Do an experiment, give the facts to a child on a issue, and ask for their response.
Premise # 2: Collectivism kills Creativity, while Individualism births it Creativity must come from an individual with little barriers of the mind as possible, although to think in groups and collectives as done in a collectivist framework would mean imposing more barriers in order define yourself into this "Collective". To see why this would be the case watch this video on the difference between Individualism and Collectivism:
Premise # 3: Innovation comes from Creativity Innovation results from finding news way to do the same things, which will results in needing less time and resources to survive and spend more time on leisure and personal interests which is a true increase in the standard of life which can be numerically measured. Although innovation requires two things:
1) Investment: These Innovations require capital to develop and distribute, without investment there is no way to develop the most useful innovations.
2) Creativity: You can have all the capital for investment but if there is no ideas to invest in, it's useless, so you need creative people to see the unknown whcih can be developed. So creativity is pivotal in the process of Innovation, so creating a individualist framework for inviduals to grow up with actually would increase the rate of Innovation and increase the quality of life of these individuals who use these innovations.
Premise # 4: Government Destroys Innovation Government with it's coercive monopoly on violence accomplishes two things that destroy innovation:
1) They destroy investment through taxation and borrowing which puts incredible constraints on the available investment capital.
2) They destroy creativity by imposing values of the ruling class on society, and creating standards that only impose even more barriers of the mind. Without creativity and invesment, innovation can occur and this only hurts individuals in their pursuit to impove their individual lives.
Apr 24 2010, 10:43 PM