Thursday, 23 December 2010

Ebenezer Scrooge economics.

I am tired of being told by the BBC and other news organisations that full shops at Xmas is “good thing”. It’s not: it means more consumption, more carbon dioxide emissions and so on.

Full shops are allegedly good because that implies more jobs, and with unemployment too high – well, more jobs must be good outcome surely.

There is actually a far better outcome, as follows. Unemployment is defined as wanting a job and not being able to find one. The better outcome and better way of reducing unemployment would be people choosing to work fewer hours and accepting a lower standard of living.

How often do you see statistics on the latter variable on the news?

And now I’m off to indulge in some unnecessary consumption.

1 comment:

  1. Ralph, I think it depends on now one defines "standard of living." Having fewer brands of toothpaste to choose from doesn't reduce the standard of living in my book. I think that we could reduce work time, enjoy more leisure, and have a higher real standard of living instead of a fictitious one that doesn't count externality and other hidden costs and detriments, and places an unrealistic value on trivia.

    For example, there are Amish and Mennonite communities near here, the strict sects of which abjure modern technology. They seem to be very happy and have what I would regard as a higher standard of living than many people that are "prosperous" but alienated from life.


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