IT’S BEEN RAINING a lot recently, and that’s cooled things down nicely. Even though it’s raining, I still head downtown most afternoons to sit at a sidewalk table with a nice café americano negro and my trusty Kindle.
It’s a good way to live.
My current book, and I’m just about finished with it, is Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics. It came recommended by young Ben Shapiro, a brilliant, conservative guy in spite of his not being a fan of President Trump.
Ain’t nobody perfect in this troubled world.
They don’t call economics the dismal science for no reason. Trying to get a good grip on the subject is a dismal undertaking, especially for someone like me who grapples with simple arithmetic. But Hazlitt makes it pretty easy.
The book was first published in the late 1940s and updated in the late 1970s, but it’s quite relevant today because some things don’t change.
Hazlitt simplified things for me, and I’m going to make it even simpler for you:
A free market, unfettered by government meddling, works best 98 percent of the time. That’s the core message. But there’s more.
If government meddles in the free market, it should do this: 1. Look not at the immediate, desired effect of a policy, but at its long-term effects. 2. Look not just at the people a policy is designed to benefit, but at everyone it affects.
It’s quite common that a policy will help one group of people while doing harm to other, larger groups of people. And it’s common for a policy to right a perceived wrong today while creating greater wrongs over the long haul.
Hazlitt points out that most laymen do not take this into consideration when favoring something, and even professional economists can fail to take into account the long-term effects.
Speaking of professional economists, I cannot resist mentioning Paul Krugman’s prediction the stock market would tank if Trump became president. Of course, it did quite the opposite. One must chuckle.
On to the Irony Department, Starbucks, about as vocally leftist an outfit as you’ll find, is closing 150 stores in the United States due to minimum-wage increases and government regulations, putting scads of SJW employees out of work.
Nailed by their beloved socialism.
Minimum-wage increases is one of the things Hazlitt touches on at length as being an example of short-term vision. Government steps in to help “poor people,” but fails to realize the broader effects of a high minimum wage.
The higher salaries is money that comes from somewhere else. It is not pulled out of thin air. Starbucks sees that now. One must chuckle even more.
Hazlitt’s book is just 220 pages. I recommend it to you.
Obviously, it was not raining in the above video, which was taken a year ago, but it was raining in the video below, which was taken four years ago. Rain looks the same from one year to the next.