The demagogic connection is straightforward. The intellectually lazy masses have no patience for thoughtful arguments or big picture surveys of the evidence. So how are you supposed to persuade them of anything? Simple. Cast all epistemic scruples aside. Wait around for recent events to go your way. Then loudly claim that these events “show” the very thing you’ve long yearned to make the masses believe.
Gary Becker, John Blundell, Leonard Liggio, Gordon Tullock and Henry Manne, all of whom passed away during the last eight months.
Note, in reference to his [Boudreaux’s] criticism of remarks by Brad DeLong, he might have noted that DeLong commits an astoundingly basic error. He [DeLong] ignores the creation of consumer surplus that the arrival of new technology has occasioned. New electronic “toys” that have added significant value to our lives and are, indeed, woven into the very fabric of business at every level, may take up a small proportion of our budgets. This is because their prices are low relative to the value they provide to us. To use this low price and low budget share as an indication of little value provided is almost laughably wrong. But it does indicate how wrong we can go by focusing only on measured value to the exclusion of value that is not directly seen – as in the case of aggregates like GDP.