2010-11-09

Economic Fallacies in the Popular Press

Today, I bring what I hope to be the first of a recurring blog feature: Economic Fallacies in the Popular Press.

Here's a quote from Matt Yglesias:
In a normal year, government employment goes up. After all, the population is growing so providing the same quantity of public services requires more personnel.
That's the opening sentence of the blog post. This very crude, two-sentence logic suggests that production can only increase by increasing the quantity of labor. To accept this view of the world, we must ignore the role of capital, technology, and productivity (i.e. the quality of labor).

I hardly think Yglesias would stick to this line of reasoning if pressed, but it's worth pointing out how quickly the politically motivated will do away with cogent economic reasoning for the sake of making a political point.

Three jeers.