More on Jobilism

by Don Boudreaux on January 22, 2012

in Country Problems, Myths and Fallacies, Seen and Unseen, Trade, Work

Here’s another letter to the New York Times:

Reporting on Apple’s alleged failure to create adequate numbers of jobs in America, you quote Betsey Stevenson, until recently former chief economist at the Labor Department, lamenting that “Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice.  That’s disappeared.  Profits and efficiency have trumped generosity” (“How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work,” Jan. 22).

Forget Dr. Stevenson’s dubious history.  I’m curious to know if your reporters, in response, asked her the following sorts of questions: “Is your home, Dr. Stevenson, without an automatic washer and dryer so that you can better exercise your generosity by hiring washerwomen to launder your family’s clothes by hand?  When you cut your finger or get a stuffy nose, do you treat these ailments with inexpensive over-the-counter medications, or do you instead spend the extra money required to visit your physician in order to generously increase the demand for health-care workers?  And when a light bulb in your home burns out, do you avoid the ‘best financial choice’ of changing it yourself by generously hiring a handyman to change it for you?”

Unless Dr. Stevenson can answer honestly that she often spends her own money for no reason other than to ‘create jobs’ for strangers, she has no business complaining about other people behaving exactly as she does.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

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