Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jacob's Laws of Economics

I'm not saying that I'm an economic whiz, and that these insights are all my own. Rather this is a combination of key insights from well-known economists, or insights that can be derived from simply economic theory but which are rarely stated--leading to bad reasoning, even among economists.

1. All statistics on incomes are misleading.
2. All statistics on incomes provide an incomplete picture of standards of living.
3. Income inequality is a red herring.
4. Income inequality and global warming are nothing more than poor excuses for socialists and other economic fascists to bring back discredited anti-market, big-government economic engineering policies.
5. There is an inverse relationship between a government's control and/or influence over prices AND that government's spending, and that country's GDP as a reliable measure of economic performance and economic growth.
6. There is not necessarily a benefit to privatization if you are merely trading one monopoly for another.
7. In a mixed economy, the market will always be blamed for recessions and crises.
8. You cannot complain that the market hasn't worked if the market has been impeded from functioning properly by the government or by other coercive means (i.e. gangsters).
9. Government manipulation of the costs associated with the production or sale of a particular good or service not only function as de facto price controls, they are in fact worse than actual price controls, as 99% of people will not know the price is being controlled and will blame the market instead of the government.
10. Economists come in two phenotypes: beard-face and leprechaun. When a beard-face shaves, he becomes a leprechaun. When a leprechaun grows a beard, he becomes a beard face.
11. Women economists are exempt from law 10.
12. Paul Krugman is the only known economist who is simultaneously a beard-face and a leprechaun.
13. The family, not the individual, is the basic unit of the market economy.
14. The state, not the individual, is the basic unit of the command economy.
15. Job creation is a by-product of economic growth, not the cause of economic growth.
16. Artificial make-work policies designed to "create jobs" are in fact job destroyers on net, as they lead to an inefficient use of the tax-payers' capital and thus have a contractive effect on the economy.
17. It is an inefficient use of the tax-payers' capital when the government uses it to buy things that the tax-payers either do not want or when the government uses it to buy things at a higher price than the tax-payers would be willing to pay.
18. "Efficiency" means achieving maximum output with a given amount of input. Unless "input" and "output" are defined for a given situation, then any use of the word "efficiency" is as valid as the next. IOW "efficiency" becomes meaningless if "input" and "output" are not defined.
19. The seven scariest words in the English language are "It will be good for the economy."
20. The term "economic imperialism" was invented by economically illiterate people who do not understand that economics is the study of scarcity and choice, and thus anywhere there are decisions being made about scarce resources is an area where economic theory is applicable.
21. Studying economics will not impress the ladies.

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