Common Sense

I was on the phone with my friend JP, talking about how extraordinarily successful the United States has been. I believe that part of that success arises from extraordinary luck. Around the time when the US became an independent nation, it had a bunch of amazingly wise people guiding it. As in the case of individuals — what one inherits is a random draw from the lottery of creation — so also for nations: the endowments that a nation is born with is random and exogenous. Among the giants who are called the “founding fathers” (a much abused phrase applied without justification to others in other nations) of the United States was an Englishman named Thomas Paine.
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