Here’s a letter to Axios:
You report, seemingly in agreement, that “looting is not violent” and that “[e]conomically speaking, looting can have positive effects. Rebuilding and restocking stores increases demand for goods and labor, especially during a pandemic when millions of workers are otherwise unemployed.”
Okay then. When can I and a few of my friends show up at your place to non-violently steal your stuff, smash your car, and burn your house to the ground? Surely you would not be so pharisaical as to complain of your personal hardship given the “positive effects” for the economy that my friends and I will generously unleash.
In fact, the public spirit that motivates my friends and me is so powerful, so loving, so magnificent that we wouldn’t dream of confining our benevolent service to your property only. We’ll peacefully pillage and destroy your entire neighborhood!
If you are sufficiently inspired, as I’m certain you will be, to nominate us for the world’s first joint Nobel Prize in Peace and Economics, we will be sure, upon accepting our Prize, to credit you with supplying us with the inspiration for our peaceful and productive beneficence.
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