Dear Mr. ________:
Opposing free trade, you challenge me to answer the following question:
[Boudreaux] are appointed the Chief Terminator of Economic Ignorance at
a salary of $150,000 a year. Things are going great for a while, then
one day you're told your job will now be done from India for just
$10,000 a year. How are you going to feed your family?"
question elicits many complementary answers. Here, for now, is just
one – in the form of some questions for you: Suppose that people no longer
wish to incur the cost of escaping economic ignorance; suppose that
people's preferences change – say, people switch from preferring
economic education to preferring more chemistry or theology education,
subjects about which I know nothing. Demand for my services as an
economic educator dries up.
Does the fact that my income falls
dramatically as a result of this economic change give me the right to
force people to continue to purchase my services? Are people morally
obliged, having once voluntarily paid me well to perform a service for
them, to continue to pay me well for as long as I wish to be occupied in supplying that service? Does a change in my economic circumstances entitle me (either directly, or through my representatives in government or through some street thugs whom I might hire) to prevent people from spending their money on instruction in chemistry
or theology or on other goods and services?
Donald J. Boudreaux