economics in one lesson chapters
We must run the economy for everybody. After the machine has produced economies sufficient to offset its cost, the clothing manufacturer has more profits than before. A premium is put on dishonesty. It will provide, say, 500 jobs for a year. The real cause is either a scarcity of goods or a surplus of money. In the first place, in spite of the enormous political encouragements (one might in some cases say compulsions) to unionization under the Wagner Act and other laws, it is not an accident that only about a fourth of this nation’s gainfully employed workers are unionized. The war contractors and their employees, then, will have higher money incomes. Let us look at each of these in turn. But there are always any number of schemes for saving X industries. To help the farmers, in other words, it merely reduces the purchasing power of city workers and other groups still more. The Lesson Restated25. In some trades they have insisted on standards to increase the level of skill and competence. It is instructive to recall, however, that the unions in the automobile industry, at a time when most of their members were already in the upper third of the country’s income receivers, and when their weekly wage, according to government figures, was already 20 per cent higher than the average wage paid in factories and nearly twice as great as the average paid in retail trade, were demanding a 30 per cent increase so that they might, according to one of their spokesmen, “bolster our fast-shrinking ability to absorb the goods which we have the capacity to produce.”, What, then, of the average factory worker and the average retail worker? When providing employment becomes the end, need becomes a subordinate consideration. Such arguments may or may not be justified in a particular case. The great advantage of a subsidy, indeed, from the standpoint of the public, is that it makes this fact so clear. The economic goal of any nation, as of any individual, is to get the greatest results with the least effort. I shall not weary the reader with a recital of the fantastic figures put forward by this group or with corrections to show what the real facts were. Certainly it is obvious to everyone that he is giving employment and spreading his money around. He writes begging letters to Benjamin. This means that they are being subsidized more than those with less purchasing power. Doesn’t every little boy know that if he eats enough candy he will get sick? The first process is essential to the second. When it becomes obvious that a shortage of some commodity is developing as a result of a price fixed below the market, rich consumers are accused of taking “more than their fair share”; or, if it is a raw material that enters into manufacture, individual firms are accused of “hoarding” it. In order that one industry might grow or come into existence, a hundred other industries would have to shrink.  Instead we shall try to see just why and how an increase in the quantity of money raises prices. What A produces constitutes the demand for what B produces. They were too often inclined to minimize or to forget altogether the immediate effects of developments on special groups. We shall not examine here the wisdom of wartime price-fixing. But we ought always to know clearly what we are doing. Cf. That will be quite a sum. This applies as much to government subsidies as to government loans. When these are considered it will be found that they do not change the essential analysis. For the officeholders must now seek private jobs or set up private businesses. He now sells his sweaters for $15 each, but English manufacturers could sell their sweaters of the same quality for $10. They fall, in fact, into all the ancient errors (or would, if they were not so inconsistent) that the classical economists, we had hoped, had once for all got rid of. If he does not have the purchasing power to buy the products of industry, industry languishes. But the overwhelming majority will be deceiving themselves. It is precisely because a professional class of speculators exists to take these risks that farmers and millers do not need to take them. If he puts it either into a commercial or a savings bank, the bank either lends it to going businesses on short term for working capital, or uses it to buy securities. Perhaps in an individual case it may work out all right. An increase in sobriety would put thousands of bartenders out of business. The same situation would exist if the transaction had been conducted in terms of American dollars instead of British pounds. One industry can be expanded only by diverting to it labor, land and capital that would otherwise be employed in other industries. To hold down the retail price of beef, for example, it may fix the wholesale price of beef, the slaughter-house price of beef, the price of live cattle, the price of feed, the wages of farmhands. For they are solved by a system under which each consumer makes his own demand and casts a fresh vote, or a dozen fresh votes, every day; whereas bureaucrats would try to solve it by having made for the consumers, not what the consumers themselves wanted, but what the bureaucrats decided was good for them. Arkwright invented his cotton-spinning machinery in 1760. Most of us must have noticed the automatic “governor” on a steam engine. A warning is necessary before we leave this subject. For, as we have seen, the causation is never a merely mechanical one. The real question concerns the proper means of achieving it. Those who favor it think only of the interests of the producers immediately benefited by the particular duties involved. This was the first book on economics that just jumped out and grabbed me. They have insisted on make-work rules to require more people or more time to perform a given task. In their various ways they all dilate upon the advantages of destruction. The scientists, the efficiency experts, the engineers, the technicians, have solved it. The logical conclusion from all this would be, if the crowd drew it, that the little hoodlum who threw the brick, far from being a public menace, was a public benefactor. A crowd gathers, and begins to stare with quiet satisfaction at the gaping hole in the window and the shattered glass over the bread and pies. It is said to be just downright silly. But if a worker mistakenly refuses a job in the belief that he can easily get another that will pay him more, the error may cost him dear. Moreover, the capital equipment, the ability to produce goods, is itself 25 per cent greater than in the first year. Do Unions Really Raise Wages?20. Among these devices are rationing, cost-control, subsidies, and universal price-fixing. Sometimes he makes a mistake, and then it is not only the banker who suffers, but the whole community; for values which were supposed to be produced by the lender are not produced and resources are wasted. These questions and conclusions stem from the fallacy of looking at one industry in isolation, of looking at the tree and ignoring the forest. Such technicalities are irrelevant to the main point. They do this partly, indeed, because they fear they may lose their jobs, and they wish to conserve their resources: they have contracted their buying not because they wish to consume less, but because they wish to make sure that their power to consume will be extended over a longer period if they do lose their jobs. To blame “excessive saving” for the business decline would be like blaming a fall in the price of apples not on a bumper crop but on the people who refuse to pay more for apples. What justification could there possibly be, in fact, for asking the taxpayers to take the risks while permitting private capitalists to keep the profits? If we offer $30 for relief, then we offer many men just as much for not working as for working. But they contend that this will be more than offset by the added production brought into existence by the borrowers who pay back, and even by most of the borrowers who do not pay back. 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