12 Jan 2009

Idle Resources: Does "Depression Economics" Change the Rules?

All Posts No Comments

I argue “no” at mises.org. This article is on the long side, but I really thought it important to carefully pick apart the claim that tradeoffs disappear when there are unemployed workers and other resources lying around. An excerpt:

Although Krugman and Thoma have made the only rhetorical move left to salvage their disastrous recommendations, their claim is wrong: the normal rules of scarcity do still apply, even in the middle of a depression. No matter the scenario, government spending channels resources away from the private sector. Even if the project employs workers who were previously unemployed, this still retards the genuine, private-sector recovery from the slump, because that is one less worker available to be hired by an entrepreneur.

If the government wants the economy to recover as quickly as possible, the solution is simple: cut spending, cut taxes, stop inflating the money supply, and stop changing the rules every three days. But this solution won’t be adopted, since it doesn’t allow the politicians to pose as generous saviors.

Comments are closed.