I had my car window broken into for the second time in two months this weekend. I was angry and vexed all day then a friend told me how her mum is going for chemo next week. So chagrined I will shut my whining cake hole and try keep things in perspective.
Bastiat and your job
There is a story about how one should not punish a child who breaks a window as this action gives the glazer some money and so keeps the economy going. This is Bastiat’s “Parable of the broken window” The fallacy of this argument is that without replacing the glass I would get to spend that money on something else. This something could actually contribute to the world rather then just replace something that already existed. When a politician says money spent on hurricane r earthquake renewal they are making this mistake.
In the film the man in the white suit Alec Guinness invents a suit that never needs to be cleaned and never wears. This results in no one ever buying clothes again and so unemployment increasing. In reality people would just spend there clothes money on other things and the increased efficiency would benefit people.
How many of us are engaged in window replacement jobs? Jobs in which in an ideal world would not exist in anything like the amount they currently do.
My job in computer security is based on the ignorance, stupidity and criminal greed of others. I am in a sense a window glazer, police are similar, even doctors to a large extend are employed due to our refusal to live healthily.
I am not saying were all ambulance chasers but in a perfect world would your job exist? Non Keynesian economic theory suggests we would have better more productive jobs. Say I would program computers to actually do something useful, something that actually increase the production in society rather then preventing the loss of rights..
Many of us exist in a strange symbiotic relationship with scumbags who go around breaking glass. I think it is important to admit this and to say “In a perfect world this job would not exist and I would be off doing job X. However the world is not perfect and as long as this glass breaker exists someone needs to go around fixing the glass”.