Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Insane Troll Logic of Barbara Ehrenreich

WARNING: This post is an angry rant, and probably won't contribute to your business success.

Originally posted as a comment on the formidable Jackie Danicki's blog.


People like Barbara Ehrenreich drive me nuts. I've been meaning to tear her a new one for her insane troll logic in this article:

In it, she argues that replacing low-wage Best Buy jobs with high-wage Stereo Exchange jobs wouldn't hurt the workers, because "Why wouldn't the former Best Buy workers take a lot of these new and better jobs? They're not all as clueless as you seem to think."


All joking aside, I'm horrified that someone as intellectually influential as Ehrenreich seems to lack any basic understanding of elementary economics.

It boils my blood to hear people try to ban "demeaning" jobs that people VOLUNTARILY take. We're not talking about slavery or indentured servitude here.

It's called comparative advantage people. Maybe you heard about it in your Economics class? Or do you believe that there are enough muckraking journalist jobs for everyone in the US?

These people have what I call a Dungeons & Dragons mentality--they think that the world is run based on rules, and that if you change one input into a situation, all the other ones stay constant.

"If wages are too low, raise the minimum wage."

By this imbecilic line of reasoning, why not just print an extra $10,000,000 for every man, woman, and child on the planet? Then we'd all be rich.


Friday, September 01, 2006

Wealth, Happiness, and Consumption

Scientific research has shown that money can buy happiness, but this is ridiculous.

A new study of the shopping habits of private jet owners reveals some stomach-turning statistics.

With an average annual income of over $9 million, and a net worth nearly 10 times that amount, they certainly have more to spend than the average American...and do they ever. Here is a short list of annual spending by category:

Adventure travel...$98,000
Hotels and resorts...$157,000
Villa/chalet rentals...$168,000
Events at hotels and resorts...$224,000
Yacht rentals...$404,000
Home improvements...$542,000

Definitely not the millionaires next door.

Some might argue that this supports the notion of estate taxes and soaking the rich. I disagree. The fact that people might waste their money does not give us the right to take it away. But this kind of conspicuous consumption is still hard to take (though compared to Larry Ellison's $194 million yacht, maybe these guys aren't so bad!).

Normally, I would try to draw some sort of business lesson from all of this, but I think I'll content myself with asking you, faithful readers, to shoot me if I ever strike it rich and start spending $147,000 per year on watches!