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Perhaps Wasting Resources Enriches the Middle Class

Here’s a letter to a publicity director for a book publisher:

Ms. Jessica Greer, Publicity Director
Other Press
267 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY  10016

Thanks for your offer of a copy of Edoardo Nesi’s and Guido Maria Brera’s new book, Everything Is Broken Up and Dances: The Crushing of the Middle Class.  I, however, will pass.  The Kirkus Reviews blurb that you include in your e-mail supplies sufficient evidence that the authors’ analysis is deeply flawed.  I refer specifically to the authors’ identifying, as a source of the alleged impoverishment of western-society’s middle classes, “cost-cutting.”

To cut costs is to reduce the quantify of resources used to produce a given amount of goods and services.  It follows that, when costs are cut, the amount of goods and services produced from any given quantity of resources increases; that is, to cut costs is to increase the productivity of resources (including that of workers).  Is it, then, even remotely possible that increasing the productivity of resources contributes to middle-class impoverishment?  That the authors believe the answer to be ‘yes’ tells me all that I need to know about their book.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030


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