Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Wages of Nonsense

It's a sad state of affairs when liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias has to point out that some of what's printed in the Wall Street Journal doesn't comport with the realities of economics:

Financial advisor Mike Donahue whines in the WSJ: “I have more than most only because I’ve worked harder than most and because I am a saver.”

I find it literally shocking that people say things like this. And I always go back to the case of the Salvadoran guys who moved all my furniture into my current apartment. I certainly make more money than those guys. But whether or not I work longer hours than they do (which is definitely possible, I work pretty long hours), you’d have to be clinically insane to think that writing my blog entails working harder than they do. In the real world, the reason I earn more than Salvadoran movers is the same as the reason I work less hard—I have more valuable skills
To be fair, the original article was subscriber only, so I couldn't read the whole thing. But the notion that you earn more because you "worked harder" sounds more like aggrieved utopian nonsense than the principled free-market outlook that is associated with the WSJ.

Don't take my word for it, or Yglesias's for that matter. Here's Hayek from The Road to Serfdom:
In any system which for the distribution of men between the different trades and occupations relies on their own choice it is necessary that the remuneration in these trades should correspond to their usefulness to the other members of society, even if this should stand in no relation to subjective merits.

1 comment:

d said...

Those poor Salvadorans, why don't they get renumeration thats FAIR?!?!? It's just not fair that people with no technical skills who haven't deferred a career for 16 years by going to school get paid less than those who do!
I believe Hayek pointed out that egalitarianism, as it were, is the road to hell.