Here is a letter to a new reporter:
Thank you for your email.
After reading many of my posts on Cafe Hayek In the business, “You are at this conclusion [I am] misguided on business” because I – as you say – “being an economist, I would have given up on the fact that people value more than consumption. Many people place intrinsic meaning in their work and do not see it as a way to earn more expendable income. Protecting, you say, is “a way of protecting the intrinsic value of workers’ jobs.”
With all due respect, I do not deny that many people place intrinsic meaning in their work and consider their work to be the highest possible source of financial income. Our economy is full of workers who love their jobs so much that they willingly accept lower wages to hold specialized jobs. I am one such worker, having turned down a lucrative job offer 30 years ago to take a low-paying college professorship at a Washington, DC law firm. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted. I get great satisfaction from teaching young adults; I also enjoy the entertainment and intellectual stimulation that academic work provides.
Among the great benefits of a growing market economy—a benefit I heartily admire—is the ever-expanding ability of the laborer to sacrifice monetary income for non-monetary services and values.
what i Condemn Jones is forcing Smith and Williams to pursue the consumption of non-monetary services and non-monetary values. Such an unfair subsidy is precisely what is economically protected: Jones keeps his existing business at the expense of Smith and Williams, so that they cannot afford not only material goods for themselves and their families, but any non-monetary services. And they value that they Desire.
Like most conservationists, I knew immediately that Jones probably attached non-monetary values to his current work. But unlike conservationists, I believe that Jones is the one who has to pay a non-monetary price for this, because he is the one who loves it. He can pay by offering to work at his current job for a lower salary. I am against protectionism in part because it allows Jones, Smith & Williams to subsidize the consumption of non-monetary values (by subsidizing the consumption of goods and services, by the way).
Unless you give me a good reason why Jones’s values are not only more important than Smith’s and Williams’s, but much more so. More Smith and Williams-Jones It is important to compel the enjoyment of values, I continue to oppose protectionism. My objection, please note, is not only that conservation is not economically viable. My objection stems primarily from the fact that it is unfair to force some citizens to support the consumption and lifestyle of other citizens based on non-monetary values.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
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