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Monday, March 18, 2013

More DeLong: Debunking the Makers-Takers meme. Once and for all.

Exactly how did once-respectable conservative economists get swept up in “moocher class” mania?

...The economics I was taught was the economics of Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill and Alfred Marshall and John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman and Paul Samuelson and even Friedrich Hayek. That economics was concerned with the nature and causes of the wealth of nations, and with efficiency and equity: efficiency because it was wasteful not to produce what necessaries, conveniences, and luxuries we could; equity because it was wasteful to have the avarice and luxury of the rich doing little to add to the sum total, while the poverty of those sleeping under bridges and begging for bread in the streets did much to reduce the sum total of human felicity. And deserts—the fact that some people deserve what they have and others do not? That idea never made any sense to Adam Smith, for he saw that the overwhelming bulk of our wealth is our joint product through our collective division of labor, rather than the individual creation of some Randite John Galt, who if truly left to stand alone on his own two feet without the social division of labor would soon have his bones bleaching in some Colorado canyon...

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