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Rather missing the point about economic development

Summary:
Not that we are arguing that this specific person, or even these people, deserve to lose their jobs but it is necessary to point out an economic basic:The steel industry supports thousands of high-quality jobs in some of our most disadvantaged communities. Steel jobs are good union jobs. They are jobs that pay well, above the national average, and they support families and communities as they do so. We don’t want to see these jobs go under any circumstances.Yes, we do. The entire process of economic development is destroying jobs. That’s the aim, point and purpose.Here, in this state, we require this much human labour to perform this task. There, in that more advanced state, we require less human labour to perform that same task. That’s what economic development is, an increase in the

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Not that we are arguing that this specific person, or even these people, deserve to lose their jobs but it is necessary to point out an economic basic:

The steel industry supports thousands of high-quality jobs in some of our most disadvantaged communities. Steel jobs are good union jobs. They are jobs that pay well, above the national average, and they support families and communities as they do so. We don’t want to see these jobs go under any circumstances.

Yes, we do. The entire process of economic development is destroying jobs. That’s the aim, point and purpose.

Here, in this state, we require this much human labour to perform this task. There, in that more advanced state, we require less human labour to perform that same task. That’s what economic development is, an increase in the productivity of human labour. As Paul Krugman is quoted to the point of cliche, productivity isn’t everything but in the long run it’s almost everything.

We would, in fact, be absolutely delighted if the entire steel industry, with its labour demands, were replaced with a little black box which required just the one flip of a switch each year. We would then gain our steel with less labour. Meaning that that workforce could be off doing something to assuage or even sate some other human need, want or desire.

The entire point of economic advance, of economic development, is to destroy jobs. Any political argument which starts with the claim that we don’t want to kill jobs is doomed to logical failure. Not that that will stop people making such arguments but it does mean we must jeer at them when they do.

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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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