Man-of-Steel-General-Zod-HelmetIn the new movie Man of Steel, Superman engages in a fight with his fellow aliens from Krypton that causes significant damage to Metropolis. Disaster expert Charles Watson estimates the costs of the physical damage done to the city to be about $2 trillion. To put that in context, 9/11’s physical damage cost $55 billion, with a further economic impact of $123 billion.

What would be the impact of Superman’s fight on the economy? According to some liberal economists, it would lead to a economic boom. In defending President Obama’s stimulus proposal in 2011, Paul Krugman proposed a peculiar solution for economic recovery that mimics the one in Man of Steel: prepare for an alien invasion.

“If we discovered that, you know, space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months,” he declared, arguing in favor of the president’s stimulus package. “And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren’t any aliens, we’d be better [off].”

Man of Steel must be Krugman’s favorite movie: you not only get an alien invasion (Kal-El, General Zod and his soldiers) but you get alien destruction on a massive scale. Just think of all the economic benefit Metropolis gained!

Krugman is a prime example that a person can win a Nobel Prize for economics, teach economics at Princeton, and write about economics for the New York Times and still not understand some of the most basic principles in economics. Unfortunately, Krugman is not alone. The idea that natural disasters, man-made disasters, or even alien-made disasters, are “good for the economy” is one of the oldest and most persistent fallacies in economics.

A hundred years before Superman was created, a Frenchman named Frederic Bastiat explained the problem with thinking that destruction is an economic good. Economist Art Carden explains Bastiat’s reasoning:

Robert Murphy, an adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute, also notes there are two important elements in Bastiat’s analysis:

1. an assumption about what we now call “crowding out” or, what is the same thing, denying that there are “idle resources,” and

2. the distinction between wealth and employment.

While Carden and Murphy provide sophisticated economic reasons why we should not believe destruction is good for humanity, there is a simpler explanation that should appeal to Christians: It contradicts God’s creational mandate. As Anne Bradley explains,

God has not just called us to preserve what he has given us, but to increase and grow it. Our job description as given in Genesis 2 is to:

• Be fruitful and multiply.
• Create rather than destroy.
• Use our ingenuity and talent to increase the sum of flourishing, not just preserve existing levels.

The Christian approach to economic growth — which can lead to human flourishing — is to be innovative, productive, creative, and a responsible steward of resources. While it’s commendable to try to find a silver-lining after a disaster, we shouldn’t be deceived. Whether the broken windows are caused by a hurricane, a baseball, or aliens from Krypton, the destruction only makes humanity poorer.


  • Josh Lowery

    Not sure if there’s a column to written about this or not, but I’ll put it out there. I see Bastiat’s logic here (and agree with it), and I also incline toward Amity Shlaes’ contention in “The Forgotten Man” (which is made elsewhere by myriad conservative economists) that it was WWII that got us out of the Depression, not the New Deal. On the surface, it seems like Bastiat would disagree with Shlaes, but I’m assuming that I must be misunderstanding something about one of them. Can someone enlighten me?

    • Stephen Martin

      Here’s an article addressing that question, josh. http://reason.com/archives/2013/01/27/world-war-ii-spending-did-not-end-the-gr

    • Dan Sullivan

      World War II was a *lot* of broken windows. The problem is that enforced idleness diminishes wealth just as much as destruction does. If labor were not walled off from natural oppoftunities, people would freely produce for themselves, and a people who tried to give them “jobs” would find few people wanting job.

      The United States and its predecessor colonies were like that in early times, and people who wanted to be served called it “a labor shortage.”

      The natural ratio of producers to consumers is two hands per mouth.

      • RogerMcKinney

        That’s a very poor understanding of economics. A “producer” with no capital but his “two hands” cannot produce enough to even support himself, let alone a family. Production has always and everywhere required capital, if nothing more than a stick to plow the ground and savings to keep the farmer alive until the harvest.

        There was no “forced” idleness in the Great Depression. The previous boom had caused a great deal of bad investment that caused massive amounts of capital needed for production to become worthless. When capital is destroyed, workers who depended upon it for jobs lose those jobs.

        WWII did not rebuild that capital. Only savings can do that. WWII just destroyed even greater amounts of capital.

        • Dan Sullivan

          You seem to have bought into Marx’s definition of capital, which confounds land with capital. To the classical liberals, capital was products of labor used to aid future production, and land was all of nature. A person with land and no capital might have no idleness, he has the means to produce wealth for himself.

          As for the ad hominem comment about my “very poor understanding of economics,” I will let the real estate editor of *Fortune* respond:

          “Sullivan has made several studies of the financial impact of higher land taxes on property owners, and speaks at meetings of Pittsburgh neighborhood and business groups to spread the incentive-tax doctrine. Such efforts are crucial. Few people, even among public officials and real estate executives, understand the nature of the tax and its economic ripples.”

          http://savingcommunities.org/docs/fortune/hightax.html

          Now, on to “There was no forced idleness in the great depression.” Seriously? There was no vacant land where people would gladly work, held by someone who wasn’t using it, but merely holding it to prevent others from using it unless they paid tribute to him? Nobody chasing them away from these natural opportunities at gunpoint?

          You also use the faulty Marxist definition of capital from that point on. Your “faulty investments” were really not investments but acquisitions, and usually acquisitions of land or of stocks companies that were acquiring land and other privileges. The “capital” that was “destroyed” was not capital at all, but real estate prices, and what was destroyed was the private ownership of homes and productive businesses by the residents and producers.

          “Only savings can” “build capital.” No, the savings to which you refer is the saving of money, which is not wealth or capital, but merely a claim to wealth and capital. Real capital is created when people go to work and make it.

          Real estate prices peaked in 1925 and in 2005. Real estate prices always peak a few years before a recession, and they are always worst in the places that have the lowest taxes on real estate.

  • Bill Hickman

    Joe –

    You don’t understand PK’s point. He’s not arguing for the actual destruction of wealth. See where he calls for a ***fake*** alien invasion? It’s a cheeky point to illustrate his belief that extra spending, for whatever purpose, would probably help the economy. So the broken windows fallacy doesn’t apply.

    • http://Culture11.com Joe Carter

      While Krugman has argued more clearly in favor of the broken window fallacy (“And yes, this does mean that the nuclear catastrophe could end up being expansionary, if not for Japan then at least for the world as a whole.” http://nyti.ms/13aJEcQ) I think his “alien invasion” theory is a complementary example.

      Keep in mind that the purpose of preparing for a fake alien invasion is to spend resources on something *that is not needed.* It would be similar to pretending a window is broken so we can replace the window and justify employing the glazier. In many ways, it’s a even sillier commitment to the broken window fallacy (at least a broken window actually needs to be replaced).

  • Guest

    Are you rejecting my comment?

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  • Dan Sullivan

    Hmm, My comment seems to have been removed without explanation.

    • Harold Kyriazi

      Tell me about it! I’ve tried posting twice, with no apparent luck, Maybe the site is moderated?

  • Harold Kyriazi

    Neolibertarians generally think that such wealth destruction must, under any and all circumstances, be viewed as an unmitigated harm, failing to understand that if some people are cut off from the earth and thus from natural opportunity, they might benefit by being offered jobs and thus a share of the wealth that those wages buy.

    • RogerMcKinney

      Wealth destruction is not an unmitigated disaster? That’s very odd. But what you are saying is that some workers are made better off if the rich are made poorer and Bastiat would completely agree. In fact he states that in his analogy. The worker who repairs the broken window is richer, but at the expense of the worker who would have received the savings of the window owner for other work. So when the property of the rich gets destroyed, the rich man is poorer while the repairman is wealthier, but the other poor worker who would have received the savings of the rich had not the destruction occurred is also poorer.

      • Dan Sullivan

        It isn’t the rich, but the privileged. This was explicitly stated by the Physiocrats whom Bastiat lavishly praised. Privilege is a form of theft, and thinking libertarians do not see destruction of a thiefs property as “an unmitigated disaster,” especially if it interferes with the thief’s ability to expand his thievery.

        Where neolibertrians break with classical libertarians is that they do not see the monopolization of land or the private issuance of legal tender as privilege. This makes it difficult for them to comprehend the flaw in Bastiat’s thinking.

        • RogerMcKinney

          Privilege exists only if enforced by the state. Only the state can enable people to monopolize anything. Private issue of legal tender is not privilege if the state doesn’t give a monopoly or restrict others from doing the same.

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  • RogerMcKinney

    You’re attack on Bastiat misrepresents what he wrote and adds unnecessary and false assumptions. All Bastiat meant by his analogy was to teach that destruction of property does not cause a net increase in wealth. It merely transfers wealth from one group to another.

    • Dan Sullivan

      I think we have a hero worshiper here. Anyone else would have called it a *critique* of Bastiat. When one “merely transfers wealth from one group to another,” the transfer can be just or unjust, and that is an important factor that Bastiat ignored. The fact that people cannot provide for themselves without a window breaking is assumed by Bastiat, and that assumption rests on an injustice that Bastiat ignores.

      Bastiat often praised “the economists,” i.e., the French (“laissez faire”) Physiocrats, but he ignores their observation that land should pay all the taxes, for landlords did not make the earth, but merely appropriated it. This is enormously destructive of wealth production, for it separates those who would gladly work from the natural opportunities to work. Thus, they are forced into idleness until a landlord’s window breaks.

      Even Bastiat is not as bad as his worshipers spin him into being. They often quote him saying, “Property does not exist because there are laws, but laws exist because there is property.”

      They ignore his very next paragraph, however:

      “First, let me state that
      I use the word property in the general sense, and not in the
      limited sense of landed property. I regret, and probably all
      economists regret with me, that this word involuntarily evokes in us
      the idea of the possession of land. By property I understand
      the right that the worker has to the value that he has created by his
      labor.”

      However, Bastiat’s antipathy to socialists caused him to not appreciate the full meaning of these words. He over-reached, and it became an antipathy toward acknowledging any injustices that socialists pointed out. This reactionary nay-saying of the half-truths of socialists led to a set of opposite half-truths.

      Yes, breaking the landlord’s window is destructive, but no more destructive than forcing idleness on those who would gladly produce wealth if they had access to natural opportunities. And yes, it only leads, in a cumbersome way, to a redistribution of wealth. However, equitable distribution is important, as it is the driving force behind production itself.

      When people can get all the wealth they produce, and, conversely, cannot use privilege to expropriate wealth they did not produce, nobody will see an advantage in breaking anyone’s window. On the other hand, when a privileged elite collects all but enough for producers to earn a bare living, and leaves non-producer’s to starve, breaking the landlord’s window is an obvious boon to everyone other than the landlords, Bastiat, and his hero-worshipers.

      And no, I am not advocating the breaking or windows. I am advocating what the French Physiocrats advocated – putting the tax burden entirely on those who own the earth and who collect tribute from those who actually work the earth.

      • RogerMcKinney

        Yes I think Bastiat is a hero, but I would defend anyone treated as dishonestly as you treat his writings.

        Bastiat would not have agreed with your definition of justice and it has nothing to do with the broken pane fallacy. In the fallacy Bastiat was merely pointing out the simple fact that there is no net gain, only a transfer of wealth from one person to another. It’s silly to bash Bastiat for not introducing justice in an article that has nothing to do with justice. Bastiat deals with justice in many other places, just not in the broken pane fallacy.

        If anyone “forces” idleness on others, Bastiat would agree with libertarians that it’s the state. Unemployment exists because the state privileges others with monopolies or punishes new businesses with high taxes and regulations. No one can labor today without some kind of capital and if they lack the capital for the tools, buildings, etc. then they must rely on the capital of others. The state does all it can to prevent those with capital from creating jobs for the unemployed.

        “when a privileged elite collects all but enough for producers to earn a bare living, and leaves non-producer’s to starve…”

        Are you repeating the Marxist nonsense about capitalists appropriating the “surplus” labor value or are you just griping about wage levels?

        • Dan Sullivan

          Nothing dishonest about it. I was quite clear that i was adding the observation that it depended on whose window it was, and that Bastiat had failed to account for why people would be looking for work in the first place.

          It was Marx who confounded land with wealth and capital, so the Austrians and neoclassicals are basically following in Marx’s footsteps even as they denounc him. I am speaking in the tradition of the classical liberals (Locke, The French Physiocrats whom Bastiat praised as “The Economists,” Adam Smith, William Penn, Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, Ben Franklin, etc.) – people to whom Austrians give lip-service:

          Here’s a few samples of what I mean:

          “I asked myself what could be the reason so many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work, in a country [France] where there is a very considerable proportion of uncultivated lands? These lands are undisturbed only for the sake of game. It should seem then that it must be because of the enormous wealth of the proprietors which places them above attention to the increase of their revenues by permitting these lands to be labored….

          “Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there are in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is
          clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. If for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be provided to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not, the fundamental right to labor the earth returns to the unemployed. It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment, but who can find uncultivated land, shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small landholders are the most precious part of a state.”

          – Thomas Jefferson

          “…it is the value of the improvement, only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property.

          “Every proprietor, therefore, of cultivated lands, owes to the community a ground-rent (for I know of no better term to express the idea) for the land which he holds…

          “Cultivation is at least one of the greatest natural improvements ever made by human invention. It has given to created earth a tenfold value. But the landed monopoly that began with it has produced the greatest evil. It has dispossessed more than half the inhabitants of every nation of their natural inheritance, without providing for them, as ought to have been done, an indemnification for that loss, and has thereby created a species of poverty and wretchedness that did not exist before.”

          – Tom Paine

          Second, the aggregate effect of land titles (which are indeed creations of the state) is to prohibit people from using land that the “owner” is not using, either. That is forced idleness.

          You don’t need capital to labor, even today. People with access to land can grow food even if they have to plant with sticks. Even if they buy seeds and a garden trowel to get started, that’s trivial compared to what rent-seekers demand for a piece of the earth they are not even using.

          No, it is not Marxist nonsense, but to right-wing dogmatists, anything that contradicts their dogma is assumed to be Marxist or Keynesian. Here is what Albert Jay Nock (author of “Our Enemy the State” and founding editor of *The Freeman* had to say about how Marxist this is:

          “One is immensely tickled to see how things are coming out nowadays with
          reference to his doctrine, for George was in fact the best friend the
          capitalist ever had. He built up the most complete and absolutely
          impregnable defense of the rights of capital that was ever constructed,
          and if the capitalists of his day had had sense enough to dig in behind
          it, their successors would not now be squirming under the merciless
          exactions which collectivism is laying on them, and which George would
          have no scruples whatever about describing as sheer highwaymanry.”

          Now, I will not stoop to your level and call you dishonest, but I do think you are misinformed, which is worse than being uninformed.

          • RogerMcKinney

            But it’s dishonest to add extraneous ideas to an argument and then chastise the writer for not adding them. You seem to think that writers must be either 100% wrong or 100% right. But the best error is half-truth. Marx had to get some things right in order to fool so many people.

            “People with access to land can grow food even if they have to plant with sticks. Even if they buy seeds and a garden trowel to get started, that’s trivial compared to what rent-seekers demand for a piece of the earth they are not even using.”

            That shows how little you know about farming. No one would be happy with what they could grow with a garden trowel and some seed. Most farming in poor countries is done with just a short handled hoe, and the women do it so the men can look for day labor. They are the poorest people on the planet, just a meal away from starving to death. Even giving them oxen to help plow would raise their standard of living only to that of the 1600s.

            You say that prohibiting people from using one’s land is forced idleness. That’s a huge leap in logic particularly today when only 10% of the population is engaged in agriculture. Are you limiting labor to farming and nothing else?

          • Dan Sullivan

            Stop whining. I didn’t chastise Bastiat. I just showed that he had over-generalized, and that there was something he didn’t see. Nothing extraneous about it.

            As for extraneous, I didn’t say people would be happy, but the would not be starving, and many people *do* garden with just a trowel and some seeds. (And you left out that those people in poor countries pay rent.)

            No, I’m not limiting labor to farming, nor am I limiting land to farmland. Many people lost their homes because the land prices became ridiculously high were real estate taxes were a small share of the tax burden. It wasn’t the house they couldn’t afford, but the land under the house. The lower the real estate tax (even if total taxes are higher), the less affordable the real estate.

            http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilitycharts.html

          • RogerMcKinney

            You need to re-read your post on your blog. You were far more critical of Bastiat than you are willing to admit.

            Who is starving in the US today because they have no land? And the farmers in poor countries often starve when there is a drought. I see little difference between starving and almost starving.

            Real estate prices did not soar because taxes were too low! That’s terrible economics! They soared because the Fed kept interest rates too low for too long and encouraged people to flip them.

          • Dan Sullivan

            I stand by every word. I was comparing cities within the country, and they all had the same Fed rates, yet cities with low property taxes had the worst housing bubbles. I guess you didn’t check the link I posted above? Here it is again.

            http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilitycharts.html

            Always good to examine the evidence before rendering a verdict.

          • RogerMcKinney

            So you examined one factor and determined that was the cause of the bubble? That’s really stupid economics. You need to understand monetary theory and all of the factors that go into determining housing prices. The only sound theory of the housing bubble is Fed manipulation of interest rates. Taxes have almost nothing to do with it.

          • Harold Kyriazi

            Roger – cutting to the chase – do you have a position on the Land Question? If so, what is it?

          • RogerMcKinney

            I’m not sure what you mean by the “Land Question.”

          • Harold Kyriazi

            What, in your view, is the right and proper for mankind to manage land use? What should be the laws regarding land ownership? Can land be “owned” in the same sense as labor-created property?

          • RogerMcKinney

            Yeah I favor land ownership. I think it’s the most important property people can own. Ownership, particularly of land, is the only known tool for controlling man’s natural envy, according to Helmut Schoeck in his “Envy: a Theory of Social Behavior.”

          • Harold Kyriazi

            Hmmm…I don’t know whether I’d frame it that way – property as a way of
            controlling envy vs. simply satisfying one’s natural wants – but when
            one goes beyond Jefferson’s belief than men have only the “right to the
            usufruct of land,” then one introduces harmful dynamics, such as the
            incentive to hoard land, making it artificially valuable (due to
            artificially-imposed scarcity), just as in any market of collectibles.
            Also, because of the positive spatial externalities attaching to land
            use (“location, location, location”), there’s an incentive to “buy in
            the path of progress,” and then sit and wait for others to pay you to
            get out of the way. I consider pocketing wealth created by others to be
            robbery. Here’s a good quote from Winston Churchill, that illustrates
            the dynamics involved: http://www.progress.org/banneker/chur.html

          • RogerMcKinney

            You really ought to consider reading Schoeck’s book on envy. It’s extraordinary. We know from the latest economic theory that institutions determine economic growth and culture determines institutions. But what determines culture? Primarily human nature and religion. Envy is natural to mankind and left unchecked destroys economic development. That’s why the world remained stuck in Malthusian cycles of famine and death with no increase in standards of living until roughly 1600 and the advent of capitalism. Then poverty receded dramatically. The main thing that happened in 1600 was the Dutch Republic made property ownership really secure for the first time. That’s pretty much the consensus among economic historians. Schoecks points out that only secure property can thwart the destructive effects of envy.

            Churchill: “…the enrichment which comes to the landlord … while [he] sits still and does nothing.”

            That’s the same argument Keynes and other socialists use against any kind of savings. To buy land, the landlord has to first save. The income from his land is no different than interest on savings.

            And the fact that he had the foresight to buy land that others would want in the future makes him an entrepreneur, so Churchill’s argument attacks entrepreneurship as well. Churchill doesn’t want anyone with superior foresight to make money from that foresight.

            And if people aren’t allowed to own land, then the problem of the tragedy of the commons destroys it through abuse.

            The whole argument against land ownership is just a thin disguise for socialism, the power of which is man’s natural envy against anyone who does better than him.

            There may be adverse consequences to private ownership of land, but history and economics can prove that the consequences of common ownership are deadly.

          • Harold Kyriazi

            Ironically, Garrett Hardin, who coined the phrase “tragedy of the commons,” later regretted it, saying he should’ve named it “tragedy of the unmanaged commons.” In order to avoid it, one need only give land users the right to the usufruct (which includes the right to exclude others, of course). They needn’t also have the usual rights of legitimate property, i.e., to sell and bequeath. For example, most of the land in Hong Kong is held by long-term lease (99 year or even 999 year). The land under Rockefeller Center in NYC was leased from 1928-1985.

    • Harold Kyriazi

      Agreed. I suppose Dan’s and my point is that, even according to Bastiat, some transfer of wealth under the current system is necessary to achieve justice – or, at least, some change in the system is required. Quoting his emphasis on “the right to the soil” from the chapter entitled “Property and Plunder” from his “Selected Essays on Political Economy” (published by FEE):

      “The right that must be demanded, because it is incontestable, inviolate, and sacred, is the right to employment in the true sense of the term, i.e., freedom, the right to ownership, not of the soil only, but of one’s labor, one’s intelligence, one’s faculties, one’s person…landed property is not a privilege; it is, like any other freedom, only man’s right to the fruits of his own labor.”

      And the following:

      “As long as there is an abundance of uncultivated land in a country, the balance between reciprocal services will be maintained, and the landowners will be unable to enjoy any exceptional advantage. It would not be thus if the landowners succeeded in forbidding all new land-clearing. In that case, it is quite clear that they would be in a position to impose their own terms on the rest of the community.”

      “But if, usurping the legislative process, the landowners prevent the proletarians from working for outsiders, then…they oppress others. They do what all licensed monopolists do, and as the landowners who prohibited new clearings did: they introduce into society a cause of inequality and poverty; they pervert the ideas of justice and property; they dig an abyss under their own feet.”

      BTW, I covered all this in my book from 2000, “LIbertarian Party at Sea on Land.”

      • RogerMcKinney

        What you forget is that Bastiat saw all monopoly and privilege
        coming from the state. Privilege wouldn’t exist in a free market under the rule of law. Only the state can create permanent monopolies in a free market. But that has nothing to do with the broken pane fallacy.

        • Dan Sullivan

          Why do you presume to tell us what we forget? We forgot no such thing, but have discussed it quite a bit. It has everything to do with Basitiat’s the broken window error, because he would have been correct within a just society, but was not correct within the context he described.

          • RogerMcKinney

            It has absolutely nothing to do with the broken window fallacy. That’s the whole point! He was not writing about justice, but about economics. He point is true regardless of whether the society fits your definition of just or not.

          • Dan Sullivan

            “He was not writing about justice, but about economics.”

            Well, I guess that sums up your perspective perfectly. However, injustice has economic consequences, such as the need to break windows in order to find work and pay tribute.

          • RogerMcKinney

            Yes, injustice has economic consequence, but Bastiat wrote about those elsewhere. You cannot criticize an article about the economics of breaking windows, in which the author does not discuss justice, for not discussing justice. The article has nothing to do with justice, which is why the article you wrote is so far off base. It’s like criticizing an article on football for not discussing knitting!

            If you want to criticize Bastiat’s view of justice, then address his articles on justice. But claiming that Bastiat’s broken window fallacy is an error because he doesn’t discuss justice is nonsense!

          • Dan Sullivan

            Again, your reading comprehension is off. I am not criticizing him for failure to discuss justice, but for failure to see that his blanket statement over-reached.

            His statement is in error because breaking a window to create jobs is no more wasteful than the alternative of forced idleness, and Bastiat presumes, falsely, that the money and energy spent on replacing the window would have been spent on something productive. That assumption might be true in a just world, but it was certainly not true in France when he was writing, nor was it true in the scenario he described. After all, why would work be a good thing if not for some people needing to work in order to pay tribute to other people?

            If the window glazier had access to his own share of land and resources, and was not taxed on his labor, he would have plenty of productive things to do and no particular desire to replace a broken window. Bastiat not only fails to discuss justice, but fails to recognize the injustice underlying the very notions he is trying to dispell.

            That is why his analysis is simplistic at best.

  • RogerMcKinney

    But it’s not the issuing of private money that is the problem; it’s the state requiring payment in that medium. Again, the monopoly exists because the state gave it. Only the state can create permanent monopolies.

    Still the state needs something of value when people pay taxes. If the government demanded payment in chickens, tax payers would have to “come to terms” with chicken rancher. Whatever means of payment the state demands, in a free market people can exchange the form of wealth they have for the form the state wants in payment. I see nothing wrong with that.

    • Dan Sullivan

      Glad you agree.

  • RogerMcKinney

    Sounds like confirmation bias to me. And you can find a Nobel economist on every side of any issue.

    • Dan Sullivan

      Good self-diagnosis.

      Meanwhile, nobody has ever told us about finding one who opposed land tax. Maybe you could be the first? Got any neolibertarians in mind?

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