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The Stewardship of Wealth: Successful Private Wealth Management for Investors and Their Advisors, + Website by Gregory Curtis

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Conclusion: American Distinctiveness and Private Wealth

This raises again the crucial point: How is it that America has avoided becoming a providential society? Surely we are affluent enough that, long ago, we ought to have begun building postindustrial walls around our prosperity, ought to have begun to fear progress, competition, to worry more about losing what we have than about producing ever more; we ought to have reduced our military spending and avoided confrontations that might endanger the lives of our citizens. America ought, in short, to have led the headlong rush into providentiality, but we haven't. Well past two centuries old, America acts more like a young economic stallion, posting economic productivity numbers that look suspiciously like those of emerging economies, demanding ever more, not less, competitiveness from our corporations, expecting ever smarter work, ever longer hours, from our workforce. And no one on earth has the slightest doubt that, when freedom is attacked, America will respond swiftly and massively, and that the cost in dollars—and, unfortunately, in lives—will be paid as necessary.

Far from succumbing to providentiality, America, even in the minds of its detractors, seems if anything to have evolved too much in the opposite direction: We are too aggressive, too independent-minded, too bold, “interventionist bullies with no regard for the sovereignty of [other] countries.”28 America, it is argued, ought to grow up, to settle into a kind of sociopolitical ...

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