Tag: broken window fallacy

Bastiat on the Japanese Tsunami

Nathan Gardels at the Huffington Post writes (emphasis added):

No one – least of all someone like myself who has experienced the existential terror of California’s regular tremors and knows the big one is coming here next – would minimize the grief, suffering and disruption caused by Japan’s massive earthquake and tsunami.

But if one can look past the devastation, there is a silver lining. The need to rebuild a large swath of Japan will create huge opportunities for domestic economic growth, particularly in energy-efficient technologies, while also stimulating global demand and hastening the integration of East Asia.

But as French political economist Frédéric Bastiat noted, destruction isn’t stimulative because it cannot create wealth:


Rat Falls Back on the Broken Window Fallacy

In Sunday’s “Pearls Before Swine” comic strip, the nefarious Rat is now a PR flak. And when his client accidentally blows up downtown, he comes up with a solid economic defense:

Pearls Before Swine

Go here for Frederic Bastiat’s original explication of the “broken window fallacy,” and for way too much detail, go to Wikipedia. John Stossel breaks some windows here and talks to Walter Williams about the implications.