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What economics is for

Compare a politics dedicated to restoring the dignity of work to the contemporary interest in abstract concepts like “democratic socialism.” Separated from the daily lives of most Americans, where the most important decisions are how to raise children and make ends meet, elite-level politics asks people which abstract economic system they affirm. These terms—capitalism, socialism, and their variants—have deep meanings and histories, but today they are more often deployed as surface-level expressions of political identity. This is a reckless way to think about our national inheritance of business enterprise.