The glazier, as the result of this catastrophe, receives a work order
from the aggrieved shopkeeper to make a new window. With the coins he
finds in his pocket as the result of this transaction he buys a loaf
of bread, the baker of which who will take those same coins and buy a
new pair of shoes, thus employing the cobbler, ad infinitum. No longer
is the window smashing imp a villain but a hero, the savior of the
town's stagnating economy!
Now, the wise onlooker might conclude that there was a hidden cost of
opportunity. Yes, the glazier pocketed some coins and set off a
lovely little string of transactions, but what of the hapless
shopkeeper? Perhaps he was planning on buying a new pair of
shoes which he must now forgo as the result of a lack of funds, a lack
rooted in the broken window needing replacement. A stimulated economy
is of little consolation to him, his frostbitten toes poking out of
well worn loafers.
This chicanery stems from a difference between what is seen and what
is not seen. We see the transaction between the shopkeeper and the
glazier, but we fail to see the transaction that did not come to take
place, the transaction between the shopkeeper and the cobbler
precluded by the lad's little foray into free-lance wealth
We would do well to note that There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free
Lunch, but alas, this fallacy is alive and well.
New U.S. jobs soared at the sharpest rate in seven months in October,
the government reported on Friday, helped by a surge in construction
activity as hurricane-battered areas in the Southeast were rebuilt.
Kathleen Utgoff, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, noted
that 71,000 new construction jobs -- the biggest since March 2000 --
"reflected rebuilding and cleanup activity in the Southeast following
the four hurricanes that struck the U.S. in August and September."
Clearly these hurricanes represent the best single stimulation of the
US economy since terrorists flew aircraft into the WTC towers and the
Pentagon. Persian Gulf War II was hoped to provide similar stimulus,
but has failed to do so as the result of poor management.
Up next: Republicans seek to invest in weather manipulating technology
with the ultimate goal of causing hurricanes and are also thought to
be formulating invasion plans for Iran.
Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tallahassee.