The “quotation of the day” by DON BOUDREAUX, 17 March 2012 is from page 265 of Deirdre McCloskey’s 2010 Bourgeois Dignity; “here, Deirdre is referring to the remarkable increase, over the past couple of centuries, in the productivity of bourgeois economies:”
Exploiting the workers, to repeat, like overseas imperialism, does not yield enough loot to explain rises of 100 percent, not to speak of 1,500 percent, in the productivity of all – including paradoxically the exploited workers themselves.
From “A poorly understood but critical message” in EYE2THELONGRUN, 17 April 2011
“when everyone figures out how to get oil into tank cars, or cheap steel from Masabi ore, or close monitoring of retail inventories by computers, the profit goes back to normal, and we, poor exploited things, are left with cheaper kerosene and cheaper steel, and retail goods 30% cheaper than charged by our good neighbours the local hardware and clothing monopolists on Main Street.”
Don Boudreaux quotes from McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity at Cafe Hayek in “How Much Is a Dollar’s Worth of Exports Worth?” 8 April 2011:
“… ‘if borders are an especially powerful engine of growth, we’d get more growth simply by Uncle Sam declaring all left-handed Americans to be foreigners’ “
From Rolf A.E. Müller, Evolution of Agriculture, “A story about Theodore Schultz and human capital“:
“One of my favorite stories about human capital has been told by Theordore Schultz. Tonight I found again Deirdre McCloskey’s version of the story:
Shortly after the Second World War the agricultural economist Theodore Schultz, later to win the Nobel prize for the work, spent a term based at Auburn University in Alabama, interviewing farmers in the neighborhood (Schultz 1988). One day he interviewed an old and poor farm couple and was struck by how contented they seemed. Why are you so contented, he asked, though very poor? They answered: You’re wrong, Professor. We’re not poor. We’ve used up our farm to educate four children through college, remaking fertile land and well-stocked pens into knowledge of law and Latin. We’re rich.
The parents had told Schultz that the physical capital, which economists think they understand, is in some sense just like the human capital of education. The children now owned it, and the parents did, too. Once it had been rail fences and hog pens and mules. Now it was in the children’s brains, this human capital. The farmer couple was rich.
“A hog pen, Schultz would say to another economist, is ‘just like’ Latin 101. The other economist would have to admit that there is something to it. Both the hog pen and the Latin instructions are paid for by saving. Both are valuable assets for earning income, understanding ‘income’ to mean, as economists put it, ‘a stream of satisfaction’. Year after year the hog pen and the Latin cause satisfaction to stream out like water from a dam. Both last a long time but finally wear out when the pen falls down and the Latin-learned brain dies. And the one piece of capital can be made into the other.
“What’s grown up about free-market feminism? Well, it acknowledges the embedded character of economic agents (as the sociologists say) and yet it does not conclude therefore that the capitalist bedding needs to be torn off the bed and thrown away. On the contrary, it argues that the market has been the chief road for the liberation of women (as of poor men).”
“Tales . . . carry multiple meanings easer than do [mathematical] models. An educated mind delights in multiplicity, without confusion. The computer age provides a metaphor of the mature mind: one “toggles” on a computer between this or that view . . . moving from one perspective to another without confusion. The literary critic Richard Lanham (1993) describes toggling as the master skill, namely, the mature ability to hold two perspectives.”
in “Quotes” by Michael Parente (post date unknown)
“This is echoed in a paper from the Joint Statistical Meetings-Section on Statistical Education (2009) ‘The Cult of Statistical Significance’ by Stephen T. Ziliak and Deirdre N. McCloskey who have authored a book by the same title. They note:
Statistical significance is, we argue, a diversion from the proper objects of scientific study…Significant does not mean important and insignificant does not mean unimportant”
28 Jan. 2011.
“Policies that we enact because we think we’re helping the poor almost invariably hurt the poor. I quote again from page 51 Deirdre McCloskey’s The Bourgeois Virtues, which should be on every bookshelf or e-reader across the land:
Unions raised wages for plumbers and autoworkers but reduced wages for the nonunionized. Minimum wages protected union jobs but made the poor unemployable. Building codes sometimes kept buildings from falling or burning down but always gave steady work to well-connected carpenters and electricians. Zoning and planning permission has protected rich landlords rather than helping the poor. Rent control makes the poor and the mentally ill unhousable, because no one will build inexpensive housing when it is forced by law to be expensive. The sane and the already-rich get the rent-controlled apartments and the fancy townhouses in once-poor neighborhoods.”
“Misconception 3: Businesses have too much “power,” and governments don’t have enough.
I can do no better than this passage from Deirdre McCloskey’s excellent The Bourgeois Virtues. It’s a book I assign in my “Classical & Marxian Political Economy” course. From page 35:
A bright future for human freedom therefore requires curbing our present lords. These are not the corporations, which after all control only our consumption of hamburgers and athletic shoes, and, in view of their competition, “control” even those feebly, McDonald’s against Burger King or Nike against New Balance. Observe that the terrible corporate trusts of earlier times, such as the great and imposing United States Steel, the horrific Amalgamated Copper Company, the appalling American Telephone and Telegraph Company, the gouging Erie and New York Central railway pools, are one with Nineveh and Tyre.
A farmer-captured Department of Agriculture, though, and a corrupt United States Congress live on and on and on. At the end of 2004 the growers of taste-free little machine-harvested tomatoes in Florida were able to block the exportation from the state of ugly but delicious handpicked varieties by using the governmental system of “marketing orders” first promulgated as a New Deal measure in 1937. When American steel producers get tariffs or when sugar beet growers get import quotas it is not because of their market power but because of their political power, their access to an all-powerful state.”
“The best passage I read today”
From Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity:
When the Soviet authorities during the 1940s exhibited the 1940 movie of The Grapes of Wrath as evidence of how miserable the poor were in capitalist America, it backfired. What amazed the Soviet audiences was that the Joad family fled starvation by car.”