Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Daily Snark 8/23

I like Tyler Cowen's blog, Marginal Revolution. He's a pretty bright guy, very well read, and of a very calm demeanor online. Based on the comments, I think his attempt at snark went over people's heads on this post, though.

Anyway, I recommend reading Matt Yglesias's original post that Cowen is responding to. If you spend any time in the real world, or if in particular you work in a grocery store (like myself), it shouldn't take you long to spot the problems. For starters, the grocery store being robbed isn't as likely to hire new people and may be more likely to let people go. A lot of money is moving through these stores, sure, but not a lot of it is profit. You would have to steal a lot of product from a particular manufacturer in order to be noticeable (no company producing goods is going to go out and hire new people over a five dollar spike) and long term (no company producing goods is going to go out and hire new people over a two week spike). Random theft at a store isn't going to meet those conditions. Even prolonged shoplifting won't meet those conditions if different goods are taken, but repeatedly stealing noticeable amounts of a single product tends to be, well, noticeable. Which is a bad plan for shoplifting.

If you read Chapter III of The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism and think you now possess a great theory for stimulating our economy, go drink yourself stupid and start all over.

By this reasoning, those riots in London were a godsend. I don't think Yglesias is dumb enough to actually be proposing people go out and steal, but saying moving closer towards an abandonment of the rule of law by the people doesn't strike me as a good thing, no matter how it comes about.

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