Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Facts matter

Dierdre McCloskey argues that many assumed facts that underlie the thinking of progressive intellectuals is false. A small sample:

Unions raised wages for plumbers and auto workers but reduced wages for the non-unionized.  Minimum wages protected union jobs but made the poor unemployable.  Building codes sometimes kept buildings from falling or burning down but always gave steady work to well-connected carpenters and electricians and made housing more expensive for the poor.  Zoning and planning permission has protected rich landlords rather than helping the poor.  Rent control makes the poor and the mentally ill unhousable, because no one will build inexpensive housing when it is forced by law to be expensive.  The sane and the already-rich get the rent-controlled apartments and the fancy townhouses in once-poor neighborhoods.
 He also has a very Schumpeterian line: "Efficiency is not the chief merit of a market economy: innovation is."

Read the whole thing.

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