Jobs in a Market Economy

by Don Boudreaux on June 4, 2007

in Immigration, Myths and Fallacies, The Hollow Middle, Work

Here’s a letter that I sent today to USA Today:

To the Editor:

Powers argues
that the hiring of foreign skilled workers "wastes" the
brainpower of Americans ("Don’t waste U.S. brainpower by hiring foreign
workers for coveted jobs," June 4).  Mr. Powers’ brainpower as an
aerospace engineer might be awesome, but it’s weak in economics.

number and kinds of jobs in a market economy aren’t fixed.  They expand
and change as entrepreneurs seek to use all available talent as
productively as possible.  Consider the microchip – which, after all,
is a substitute for lots of human brainpower.  If Mr. Powers’ argument
were correct, the advent of this device would have cast millions of
smart, educated Americans into low-skilled jobs.  Instead, of course,
the microchip has created for talented Americans countless high-wage
jobs whose existence was inconceivable thirty years ago.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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