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Efficiencies Are a Service to People

Posted By Don Boudreaux On April 3, 2007 @ 1:00 pm In Seen and Unseen | Comments Disabled

As evidenced by this op-ed in today’s edition of USA Today [1], there’s a lot of anxiety about Circuit City’s announcement that it’s laying off many of its workers.  As usual, much of this anxiety is unnecessary, fueled as it is by misunderstanding and faulty reasoning.  Here’s a letter that I sent to USA Today in response:

Dear Editor:

When
criticizing Circuit City’s decision to lay off many of its employees,
you miss two crucial facts ("Circuit City’s harsh layoffs give glimpse
of a new world," April 3).

First, Circuit City is responding to
consumers.  As electronic products become less expensive and easier to
use, consumers have less need for on-site personal service.  This fact
is one reason why consumers buy increasingly from on-line retailers.

Second,
the money that consumers save by buying on-line doesn’t disappear.
Each dollar is either saved and invested or is spent on goods and
services that previously were too expensive for most consumers.  Either
way, opportunities are created.

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