Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Fetish of Employment

Yes, I had to reference Hazlitt once again, I'm afraid. I think I might have stumbled across the dumbest exchange I've ever witnessed on the internet (and that's really saying something). Over at Cafe Hayek Don Boudreaux relays a letter to the WSJ regarding an article on protectionism.

Free trade across borders was one of the first economic arguments I really found a firm footing on when I began to really dig in. Without thinking it through, it's easy to see the various reasons why people would be opposed to free trade. So I generally prefer a peaceable conversation with a dissenter over slamming them right off the bat. But this short communique between a doubting commenter and a faithful commenter really made me almost want to give up on economics altogether. The conversation was multi-faceted - I'll simply lift the relevant part:

Doubting: "You like to take thought experiments to their logical conclusions.... so what if some one invented a machine that produced everything the world needed."

Faithful: "If a machine produced everything the world needed - we could all go play croquet."

Doubting: "How would you pay for the croquet set or anything else for that matter? You wouldn't have a job."

Sometimes there just aren't enough words...

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