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The Downfall Began with the Invention of the Wheel….

Posted By Don Boudreaux On January 19, 2010 @ 3:25 pm In Complexity & Emergence,Myths and Fallacies,Standard of Living | Comments Disabled

Below is a letter that I sent yesterday to the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Endorsing a government-guaranteed minimum income, Bartholomew Sullivan writes that Americans are increasingly economically vulnerable because of “increased mechanization and labor efficiencies,” “the export of industrial and manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries,” and improvements in robotics (“Martin Luther King Jr. focused on ending poverty [1],” Jan. 18).

Mr. Sullivan has matters backward.  All of the advances that he lists lower production costs.  By enabling us to produce each bushel of corn – and each cord of lumber, each pair of shoes, each bar of soap, each automobile, each airplane flight, each vial of antibiotics, and on and on and on – with fewer resources than before, we become wealthier and more materially secure.  The necessities of life, and most of its luxuries, become more widely accessible, even to the poor amongst us.

By stifling the incentives that power the wealth creation that we all enjoy today (even as many people take this wealth for granted), government efforts to guarantee a minimum income to every citizen will make us poorer and less materially secure.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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[1] Martin Luther King Jr. focused on ending poverty: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/jan/18/king-focused-on-ending-poverty/

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