Nuts and berries

Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Sun Dec 13 19:16:52 PST 1998

>Figures. So many of you cybertypes can be so casual about displacement; you
>can bounce from job to job, place to place, and survive. Not everyone is so
>blessed - those forces you dismiss as the "steel lobby" and "textile lobby"
>include lots of displaced, downsized, and disposed of workers along with
>the nationalist union tops and pampered managers.

Of course, as Ev Ehrlich once said, carry that argument to its conclusion, and we would have 80 million people employed today in hunting and gathering, all of them receiving government subsidies as they look for nuts and berries...

Why isn't it a better policy for the long run--even for the medium run--to tax and spend to accelerate the long-run structural evolution of the economy (along with a healthy social-democratic program of redistribution) than trying to freeze the sectoral distribution of employment and production in the pattern it held in 1950? The pattern of income redistribution implicit in the Multifiber Agreement is... not progressive.

Brad DeLong

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