No, There Is No Upside to a Tsunami

It never fails. After each horrific natural disaster, news stories begin to appear purporting to explain how the hurricane, volcanic eruption, or earthquake is really–wait for it–an economic blessing! Watching news footage of the destruction of the Japanese coastline last Friday with some economist friends, we all agreed that such stories would start popping up within a day or two. Sure enough, they did.

The logical conclusion of this line of reasoning is that the solution to our unemployment problem and other economic woes is simply to blow up a few major American cities, perhaps with atomic weapons, and then bask in all the economic activity created by rebuilding efforts. No doubt unemployment would drop overnight as construction companies and their suppliers ramp into high gear.

It’s so frustrating that fallacies like this one that were blown up 150 years ago are still regurgitated endlessly in the media and popular discourse.

[Thanks to Manuel Lora for calling my attention to this news story.]

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About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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3 Responses to No, There Is No Upside to a Tsunami

  1. Dr. T says:

    Well said! You are true to the Austrian heritage of von Mises!!

    This is a constant myth that I must dispell among my own students, but alas it is also the guiding principle of our government’s “stimulus” package. If only our beloved leaders would listen as well as my undergrads (but not my grads, because they still don’t get it).

    • Dr. J says:

      You won’t be surprised to know that I was at the annual Austrian Scholars Conference when the above-referenced conversation took place.

      It’s too bad your grad students were so corrupted before they got to you.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Pingback: Impoverishment Is Prosperity, Says Politico | The Western Tradition

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