Two Inheritances

The Good Inheritance: From Godly Parents

The fundamental resource is an upper-class mentality.

In 1970, Prof. Edward Banfield, the Harvard political scientist, offered a new definition of class. He defines class position in terms of time perspective, not income.

In the analysis to come, the individual’s orientation will be regarded as a function of two factors: (1) ability to imagine a future, and (2) ability to discipline oneself to sacrifice present for future satisfaction. The more distant the future the individual can imagine and can discipline himself to make sacrifices for, the “higher” his class. The criterion, it should be noted, is ability, not performance. . . .

It must again be strongly emphasized that this use of the term class is different from the ordinary one. As the term is used here, a person who is poor, unschooled, and of low status may be upper class; indeed he is upper class if he is psychologically capable of providing for a distant future. By the same token, one who is rich and a member of “the 400” may be lower class; he is lower class if he is incapable of conceptualizing the future or of controlling his impulses and is therefore obliged to live from moment to moment. (The Unheavenly City [Boston: Little, Brown, 1970], pp. 47-48.)


Our proper goal is to train up children who are truly upper class. They must have a commitment to the future. They need to have an understanding that their efforts have long-term consequences. We must strive to create a moral perspective in our children’s minds that offsets the siren call of the short run in our day. Ultimately, I know of no capital investment more important than this — not gold, not diamonds, not A bonds.

Inheritance Strategies – The Crucial Economic Resource That We Must Impart to Our Children
Gary North

The Bad Inheritance: From the Secular State

A common mistake that some defenders of the free market make is this: they say that the free market can solve any problem.

They ought to say that the free market will put accurate price tags on the solutions to those problems which can be solved through voluntary market exchange. This is nothing like the broader statement, namely, that the free market can solve any problem.

The free market cannot solve problems that are not subject to the laws of exchange. If somebody has a bad marriage, he cannot solve it by auctioning off his wife to the highest bidder.


When politicians and bureaucrats prohibit free market solutions, they make the problems worse. They extend the life of the problems. There is a kind of compound growth of problems. The problems get larger and larger until they approach the upward slope of the graph which indicates exponential expansion. In other words, the politicians do not voluntarily pull back. Unless they are forced to pull back by voters, they continue as they did before. They continue to promise solutions, and the number of problems compounds. Only at the point when the voters decide to replace the existing crop of politicians is there some hope that the free market will be allowed to operate, thereby putting price tags on the solutions to problems.

Price tags are the key benefit of the free market. Price tags convey information about the nature of problems to be solved and also about the potential gains for solving the problems. The heart of the free market is the price system. The price system conveys information, and this information is crucial for people with problems and also people with solutions.


We can bring free market principles to the attention of the public, but we should not expect the public to believe any of them until the pain is so great that they have no choice except to turn to the market. The public does not believe that the free market can solve its problems at a price that the public is willing to pay. The public believes the promises of politicians, who insist that the problems can be solved, and solved at a reasonable price, if necessary by making rich people pay the piper. In other words, the desire of the voters to get freebies from the government, based on the promised transfer of the cost of these freebies to the rich, is an almost universal desire today. This is why the voters are going to get hammered in the Great Default.


We can propose free market solutions, but if we imagine that the voters or the politicians or the bureaucrats are going to implement any of these solutions prior to a breakdown, we are suffering a delusion. Such proposed free market solutions are sand castles in the air. We do not know what the free market will adopt after the governments’ programs finally break down. But we ought to assume this: the price tags will be enormously higher than they are today. This is because the compounding of problems will continue under government supervision until such time as the government simply cannot deceive the voters any longer.

The ability of the government to run up the bill to astronomical levels should be obvious. The public does not care. The public really does believe that the equivalent of the tooth fairy is going to pay for all of the benefits that the public has been promised. The public is very trusting. The public is also vulnerable. The public cannot possibly get all the benefits that the public has been promised by the politicians. Still, the public will not repent, because the public wants to believe in tooth fairy economics. This is why the bills get larger and larger, all over the world.


All of the blueprints for possible free market solutions to avoid the Great Default are exercises in fantasy politics. Some of them might work, but there is no way to prove this to the public. Some of them may not work, and we will find this out after the Great Default. My point is this: it is naïve to believe that free market solutions will be allowed by the government until such time as the government faces the implications of the Great Default. In other words, the problems will compound, and free market solutions will only solve a few of these problems at the margin. We should not expect the free market to come to the rescue anytime soon. We should expect that the problems will compound astronomically, and until such time as the government literally cannot write the checks anymore, it will continue to lie, and the voters will continue to believe the lies.

There will be solutions offered at the margin. What I am saying is this: the price tag will be much higher than anything that even the most dedicated of free market defenders can imagine today.

Great Default – Price Tags on Solutions After the Great Default
Gary north

There is no easy way for Christian children and young adults to escape the costs of the Great Default.

There are ways to mitigate the disaster: maximize the benefits of wisdom, of good service to others, of a independent business.

But there is no easy way to escape the Great Default.

  • First, the welfare state is widespread across the world. There is no escape in the West, as far as I know.
  • Second, moving to places that are NOT welfare states have their own costs. These costs are more up-front and visible than the price of the future Great Default. They may even be smaller than the actual cost of the Great Default.

    But, the costs of relocation are real, and they exist now
    as opposed to the Great Default, which I claim will inevitably occur sometime in the future.

A few people will agree with North’s projection of some kind of Great Default, and take action.

The vast majority will not.

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