Tag Archives: cafe hayek

Exports Good, Imports Bad?

Most people think that exports are good, and imports are bad. Exports create jobs, imports destroy them. Don Boudreaux, in one of his inimitable letters to the editor, quotes the economist Frank Knight on what this actually means:

“The man from Mars reading the typical pronouncements of our best financial writers or statesmen could hardly avoid the conclusion that a nation’s prosperity depends upon getting rid of the greatest possible amount of goods and avoiding the receipt of anything tangible in payment for them.”

Yes, people really do think that way. We call many of them politicians. Read Don’s entire letter here.

CEI Podcast for June 15, 2011: Do ATMs Kill Jobs?

 

 

Have a listen here.

In a recent NBC interview, President Obama blamed ATMs for taking away bank tellers’ jobs, and computerized airline check-in kiosks for eliminating aviation jobs. Communications Coordinator Lee Doren points out that innovation doesn’t affect the number of jobs so much as the types of jobs. Accomplishing more while using less labor is actually the key to prosperity. People looking for an explanation for today’s high unemployment need to look elsewhere.

The Wealth of Nations Turns 235

Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was published 235 years ago today.

Over at Cafe Hayek, Russ Roberts links to a few short resources about that long, long book (which I nonetheless recommend reading). Worth checking out.

Country of Origin Labels Are False Advertising

Don Boudreaux makes good sense on why country of origin labels only tell part of the story of where a product comes from:

Yes, Mr. Hoch’s socks say “Made in Swaziland,” but who developed the computer software to operate the loom that wove the cloth used to make his socks?  Who designed the loom itself?  Who figured out how to transform crude oil into the elastic in the socks?  Who devised the method for pooling risks so that the Swaziland factory is profitably insured against fire and that the cargo ship carrying his socks to America is profitably insured against sinking?

Don concludes:

In fact, Mr. Hoch’s socks – and nearly everything else that he consumes – should be labeled “Made on earth,” for they truly are global phenomena.

Read the whole thing. Keep it in mind the next time someone grouses –falsely — that America doesn’t make anything anymore, or that Americans buy too many goods from foreigners.

From Poor and Sick to Healthy and Rich

Via Russ Roberts, this is an amazing video. I’m always impressed with creative, compelling ways to use data to tell a story. And this story is one of the most important in human history: how most of humanity went from being poor and sick to healthy and rich in just 200 years.

There is still a ways to go. But if past is prologue, I’m optimistic about the future.

The Real Cost of TARP

Russ Roberts nails it over at Cafe Hayek:

Please remember that the cost of the TARP isn’t the cost to taxpayers. Even if banks paid back every single penny, the cost of the TARP is that it reduces current and future prudence.