Friday, January 14, 2005

 

My AP site isn't working so this is all you get today.

Well, linking to this essay may be a little late (it was intended for the holidays) but I think it is still worth pointing to. It is in praise of misers, such as Scrooge.

"Scrooge has been called ungenerous. I say that's a bum rap. What could be more generous than keeping your lamps unlit and your plate unfilled, leaving more fuel for others to burn and more food for others to eat? Who is a more benevolent neighbor than the man who employs no servants, freeing them to wait on someone else?"

I think the essay makes a valuable point, but could be misleading as well. The idea that those who do not live a miserly lifestyle and are still not generous, those that consume only for their own benefit, are somehow to be viewed negatively seems to be the unintentional message. This is not true however. So long as everyone consumes according to their own desires and within their capacity to demand (demand is meant in the economic sense) then they are doing the best service possible. It is only when market forces are allowed to work to allocate resources according to our revealed preferences that we can say that progress has been made. If a miser prefers to save every cent possible than he is not distorting the market away from a better more effecient world, but if he is forced to save and does not prefer it, then he may cause the underproduction of some good society would prefer to have more of. Should we praise Scrooge (before his reformation)? Yes. Should we condemn Lord Mayor for his consumption? No.

Just a thought for the day.

In other news, Arizona sheriff orders pink handcuffs for prisoners. They will match the pink boxer shorts and bed that they sleep in.


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