McCloskey on Trump

D. McCloskey, “Bourgeois Virtue,” American Scholar, 1994

Donald Trump offends. But for all the jealous envy he has provoked he is not a thief. He did not get his millions from aristocratic cattle raids, acclaimed in bardic song. He made, as he put it in his first book, deals. The deals were voluntary. He didn’t use a .38 or a broadsword to get people to agree. He bought the Commodore Hotel low and sold it high because Penn Central, Hyatt Hotels, and the New York City Board of Estimate–and behind them the voters and hotel guests–put the old place at a low value and the new place, trumped up, at a high value. Trump earned a suitably fat profit for seeing that a hotel in a low-value use could be moved into a high-value use. An omniscient central planner would have ordered the same move. Market capitalism should be defended as the most altruistic of systems, each capitalist working, working, working to help a customer, for pay. Trump does good by doing well.

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