Putting the Economics Back in Christmas

I applaud the online magazine Slate for its recurring series on ‘the dismal science,’ as they call it. Rather than boring discussions of the housing market or the NASDAQ index, economists such as Steven Landsburg and others tackle interesting issues. Don’t get me wrong, I just about always disagree with the columns. I was never puzzled as to why people walk up stairs but not escalators, I don’t think an increase in promiscuity will reduce the spread of HIV, and I’m still not convinced that a person should only give to one charity. Even so, the articles get me thinking, and that’s what’s important.
So the reader must understand that it is in this festive, jovial spirit that I proceed to devastate a recent Slate article, ‘The Sovereign versus the Idiot.’ It is a stocking stuffed full of fallacies and plenty a non sequitur for all the family to enjoy. When I read an article like this, I am honestly humbled by how lucky I was to stumble across the wisdom of the Austrian economists. But enough preamble! On to the article’s inauspicious opening:
Economists generally salute holiday gift-giving for its healthy effect on the macroeconomy. And indeed, gift spending boosts GNP to the tune of $100 billion a year in the United States.

This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 26, 2017.