Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A fool and his money

Being heir to a feather pillow fortune isn't enough for Nick Hanauer, he wants to put his philosophy degree to work--and destroy other peoples more limited fortunes;
For example, while Hanauer says he’s “incredibly proud” of what Amazon has accomplished, “it’s not an unalloyed good.”
“Amazon didn’t create any jobs. Amazon probably destroyed a million jobs in our economy,” he said, pointing to reduced employment at brick-and-mortar stores displaced by the Internet giant.
“We have to find a way as a capitalist democracy to account for that,” Hanauer said.
Which is the Broken Window Fallacy with Reverse English. Hanauer gets to talk that way because long ago he took $45,000 of his inherited money and invested it in a start-up called Amazon.com. He had nothing to do with creating the company, or managing it, but he does demonstrate what Robert Shiller says in Finance and the Good Society; you need investment capital to grow an economy and maximize everyone's satisfaction.

Even money from blithering idiots can help. Even when the idiots don't want to allow others to enjoy even a fraction of what he has;
“Do we want to live in a society where people work full time and still have to get government assistance and go on food stamps? Do we want to live in a society that is economically optimized for places like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart?” Hanauer said.
Forcing higher wages might harm such companies, he said. “But I would respectfully suggest that if you have a business model that can’t survive without paying people poverty wages, maybe you should go out of business.”
Then those employees won't have any wages at all, which doesn't seem to have dawned on Hanauer;
Besides, Hanauer noted that taxpayers wind up subsidizing low-wage workers who qualify for food stamps and other government aid.
Which is pretty much the consensus among economists in all corners of the globe, to be a more efficient way of boosting the incomes of the poor.

The hazards of being born with a silver spoon in one's mouth.

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