Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on October 29, 2017

in Myths and Fallacies, Trade, Work

… is from pages 40-41 of my colleague Bryan Caplan’s brilliant 2007 book, The Myth of the Rational Voter (original emphases; footnote deleted):

The public often literally believes that labor is better to use than conserve.  Saving labor, producing more goods with fewer man-hours, is widely perceived not as progress, but as a danger.  I call this make-work bias, a tendency to underestimate the economic benefits of conserving labor.  Where noneconomists see the destruction of jobs, economists see the essence of economic growth – the production of more with less.

….

For an individual to prosper, he only needs to have a job.  But society can only prosper if individuals do a job, if they create goods and services that someone wants.

DBx: The good economist judges international trade by how much labor and other resources it saves.  The non-economist (or poor economist) judges international trade by how much labor and other resources it devours.

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