Friday, March 15, 2013

Is Hazlitt old fashioned or current?

I know many people who claim Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson was an early inspiration. I really can't say this. I remember reading it for the first time pretty late in my training, probably in grad school, and not being that impressed. I mean it was good, but it came across to me and my grad school ego as being well a tad simple and old fashioned.  But rereading it this week as caused me to reevaluate.

So let's play a game. Let's see if I can find a current analog to most of the chapters.

II. The Broken Window

I know this is low-hanging fruit but if we didn't have Paul Krugman around we'd have to invent him. To wit, the Kroog embraces the broken-window fallacy head on here.  Let's not even talk about alien invasions.

III. The Blessings of Destruction

Did you know Hurricane Sandy was a good thing?

IV. Public Works Mean Taxes

"Obama calls for $50 Billion Public Works Plan" and you know what? It'll be "fully paid for."

V. Taxes Discourage Production

Not according to some.

VI. Credit Diverts Production

One word: Solyndra.

VII. The Curse of Machinery

The ATM gaffe!

VIII. Spread-the-Work Schemes

The 35 hour work week.  Hey why stop at 35 hours?

IX. Disbanding the Troops and Bureaucrats

Teacher Layoffs.

X. The Fetish of Full Employment

We really should have a Census every year. Ya know for the jobs! (Ok this could go in Chapter IX too.)

XI. Who's Protected by Tariffs

If you like candy, not you.

XII. The Drive for Exports

The Export-Import Bank, but it's "fully paid for" so don't worry about it.

XIII. Parity Prices

The minimum wage must keep pace with prices.

XIV. Saving the X Industry

Too easy:

Old Henry doesn't look too old fashioned now does he? Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. Whereas I do not agree with the government bailout of general motors,and that picture would be hilarious in 2009, I cannot say it was a bad investment.

    they have already paid back all of their former loans after merging with FIAT, and continue to do quite well. this is one time where the money the government spent was not very ill placed.

    essentially the government bailed them out because there was no capital lender available to provide their massive loans, because they had just finished almost capsizing the capital market.