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The Political Economy of Bob Dylan

  • Bob Dylan
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Tags Big GovernmentThe EntrepreneurU.S. EconomyEntrepreneurship

"So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."  (Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower, 1967)

In his first interview in almost three years, a contemplative, septuagenarian Bob Dylan expresses, among other things, an appreciation for entrepreneurs as virtuous job creators and for voluntarism as the organizing principle of a prosperous economy.  At the same time he rejects both communism and the governmental job creation programs beloved by Keynesians.  

Ever the American populist, Dylan voices mild displeasure at a "wealthy billionaire . . . giving his money away to foreign countries."  He then goes on to say:

The government's not going to create jobs.   People have to create jobs, and these big billionaires are the ones who can do it. We don't see that happening . . . Now, I'm not saying they have to--I'm not talking about communism--but what do they do with their money?  Do they use it in virtuous ways . . .  These multibillionaires can create industries right here in America.   But no one can tell them what to do.  God's got to lead them.

The only thing lacking in Dylan's statement is the recognition that the failure by entrepreneurs to create more jobs is attributable to the fact that they are tangled up in bureaucratic red tape and hemmed in on all sides by legal and regulatory restrictions.  

Joseph Salerno is academic vice president of the Mises Institute, professor emeritus of economics at Pace University, and editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics.

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