≡ Menu

Damn those Innovators!

Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

Union president Joseph Hansen accuses Wal-Mart of unleashing economic destruction because its innovative retail methods make available at lower prices a wider range of goods – goods that, to be brought to retail markets in the past, required greater numbers of higher-skilled (and, hence, higher paid) workers (Letters, July 28).

In short, Mr. Hansen criticizes innovation that enables us to enjoy more and better outputs from fewer and less-valuable inputs.

To be consistent, Mr. Hansen should also criticize those innovations that, say, improved the quality of televisions and, as a result, destroyed the jobs of t.v. repairmen.  Likewise he ought to condemn advances in digital photography that enable amateur photographers today to produce high-quality photographs that once required the skills of professional photographers.  And of course Mr. Hansen should protest the polio vaccine for enabling people to survive and move about without the help of workers who produce iron-lung machines, wheel-chairs, and crutches.

Donald J. Boudreaux