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Buy our jet planes because look at how expensive they are!

Summary:
We may have mentioned this before but here goes again - shouting out about how many jobs your plan creates is advertising how expensive that plan is. Jobs are a cost of doing something, not a benefit.Yes, people like to consume, that means they desire incomes, the normal method of gaining one of those is to go get a job. But from the 30,000 foot view any job doing the one thing means that same economic asset, that human labour, cannot be doing some other thing. There is thus an opportunity cost to employing labour in this one task - that opportunity cost being all the other things it could be doing instead. Clearly the people sending out the press release don’t grasp this:An economic analysis of Tempest conducted by PwC calculates the programme will also support 20,000 skilled jobs a year

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We may have mentioned this before but here goes again - shouting out about how many jobs your plan creates is advertising how expensive that plan is. Jobs are a cost of doing something, not a benefit.

Yes, people like to consume, that means they desire incomes, the normal method of gaining one of those is to go get a job. But from the 30,000 foot view any job doing the one thing means that same economic asset, that human labour, cannot be doing some other thing. There is thus an opportunity cost to employing labour in this one task - that opportunity cost being all the other things it could be doing instead.

Clearly the people sending out the press release don’t grasp this:

An economic analysis of Tempest conducted by PwC calculates the programme will also support 20,000 skilled jobs a year between 2026 to 2050.

That it is a press release is shown by the Times running much the same story as the Telegraph:

Manufacturing of Britain’s new force of heavily armed, manned and unmanned Tempest combat jets will sustain 20,000 jobs a year through to the middle part of the century, the UK defence industry has claimed.

Britain may or may not need new jet planes. Tempest may or may not be the jet planes Britain may or may not need. But advertising that the programme will create, or “support”, 20,000 jobs is an advertisement for the expense of the plan.

That’s 20,000 people - possibly even 20,000 skilled engineers - who cannot be making better windmills, sorting out car batteries, cracking mini-nukes, promoting diversity, automating childcare or finally, irremediably, solving Simon Cowell.

For jobs are a cost, not a benefit.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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