Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Washington Post

At Economist's View:

Mm, the Washington Post. They don't like me because I won't send them money. I don't like them because they insist that I do. Things on the internet were not always thus. But in any case, their question is idiotic: "Is the main purpose of the economy the production of things or the enhancement of life?"

The economy doesn't have a "purpose". People engaged in economic activity have their purposes, but that's not the same thing. I think what the Post means to ask is something like this: "Do we want the economy to be primarily for the production of things or the enhancement of life?" I'd say both.

Primarily? Both.

Where they say "the production of things", a literal reading would translate that into "the production of goods". But I'm pretty sure they mean goods and services, even if services are not "things". Maybe they should use the word "output": the production of output.

But then, income equals output. The production of output generates income, and income is used to measure output. So maybe they should say the production of income.

And now I have a problem, because what they seem to want to ask is this: Do we want the economy to be primarily for the production of income or the enhancement of life? But unless you live in the world of Star Trek, or at Walden Two, there's not much difference between the production of income and the enhancement of life. In those fictional worlds there is no income -- no keeping track of anyone's "share" of the output -- but only the enhancement of life. However, in those fictional worlds we are never told how to actually achieve that kind of existence.

I doubt the Washington Post has the answer. They're demanding money from me, remember, for access to their output.

1 comment:

The Arthurian said...

I forgot! Bezos owns the Washington Post! That's probably the source of the insistence that I pay to access WP articles.

I get three free articles a month from the NY Times. Bezos makes the Times look generous.