Secur(ity) Jobs

by Don Boudreaux on November 14, 2004

in Myths and Fallacies

Flying today out of Reagan National Airport, I overheard a couple behind me in the security line have the following discussion:

SHE: "This security is annoying.  [pause]  But, you know, at least it creates jobs."

HE: "Yeah, that’s true.  And these jobs are permanent, too."


The economist understands that someone working to do A can’t do B — and that the B that is not produced is a loss to society.  If A is a worthwhile job, losing B is a worthwhile cost to pay — but it’s still a loss; it’s still a cost.

The non-economist worries endlessly about people having too little to do.  The non-economist too seldom sees the opportunity costs with job A.


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