No one can deny that there are many problems facing us today. Poverty, illiteracy, corruption, and so on are enduring obstacles in our lives. Many people do their best to combat these problems, but in order to do this effectively we have to first figure out what is causing these problems. The trouble is, people can’t seem to agree on the causes of most of these issues. It seems that everyone has different answers. Depending on the person you ask, you might hear the answers: because of the poor, because of immigrants, because of rich corporations, because of lobbying, because of corrupt politicians, and so on. What I would like to discuss now, however, is an answer that hasn’t been very popular but is steadily gaining traction. There is a radical movement that puts forth the idea that government in general is the primary cause of most societal problems. Not a certain Government in particular, mind you. Not a Republican Government or a Democratic Government. Not a parliamentary or congressional Government. Just government in any of its myriad forms. Such a simplistic worldview suffers from a fundamental problem, and I want now to explain what it is.
Welcome back to school, everyone! This was my research paper for last semester. In it, I detailed the causes of poverty and present a solution. I was researching this paper while debating Mr. S and what I found greatly helped in regards to this paper. If you find any errors, or have any feedback whatsoever, please leave a comment. Thank you.
05 May 2014
The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Is an End to Poverty Possible?
What if you were told that it’s possible to not just help the poor, but to eliminate poverty altogether? If so, how could this be done? The answers are much simpler than you think. No matter whether we look at poverty in a rich country like the United States or a comparatively poor country like China, underlying causes always remain the same. More amazingly, not only is this true for every country on Earth today, but for history as well. When all is said and done, the one common factor in poverty, no matter where or when you look, is excessive government intervention in the market. The solution to poverty, simply enough, is liberty. That’s it. There are no complicated mathematical formulas.
“Asking a liberal where prices and wages come from is like asking a six-year old where babies come from.” -Thomas Sowell
It’s all come to this, the final showdown. The third and final part of my debate with Mr. S begins on page 2 after a brief aside. This third part contains a lot of graphs and charts that present data in an easy-to-digest form, but also has enormous walls of text. Wait, that’s how I’m going to start this? Let me try this again: Inside you’ll find many of my arguments presented with pictures to visually represent vast amounts of data, making it easier to see and understand. (There, that’s much more fun!)
“There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.”
When dealing with the economic effects of a policy it is paramount that we are able to see the unseen. In my debate with Mr. S last week several studies on minimum wage effects were referred to but not sufficiently analyzed (my bad). Especially in regards to the Krueger & Card study, it is important to realize that economists with an agenda will make the info say what they want the info to say. For example: the gender gap!
“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.” Leo Tolstoy
In case you haven’t heard, lately there’s been a lot of debate concerning the minimum wage. Opinions are varied but among those who are most outspoken on the matter, most want the wage to be raised to $11 per hour. Every side brings up important points, but what most human beings forget to do when debating is to let the facts dictate opinion instead of the other way around. This may bother you, and if it does I hope very much to convince you, but I believe that the minimum wage ought to be abolished. As in, a $0 minimum wage. And about 50% of economists agree on that point. If you don’t, but you’re open-minded and willing to learn, read on.
Many thousands of years ago, when our fragile race was still new, there lived two men who were quite gifted, but also quite poor. The first man had a knack for sewing clothes but hungered for want of food. The second man quite skillfully grew vegetables but cried in pain, for his back was scorched by the fires of the sun. One day the first man took up an armful of his clothes while the second man carried a bushel of his crops. Desperately the two wandered aimlessly until after a while they happened upon one another.
The hungry seamster and the naked farmer stood at a distance with their wares, each having what the other wanted. Lo, there was but one misfortune keeping them from quenching their desires. The government had not been invented yet, so these two merchants were incapable of trading with one another. Without the economic guidance of the government, they could only stare at one another, dumbfounded. O, how happy we are, for without the government we all would be everlastingly poor!
OK, That title was the bait, now time for the switch.
I decided to try something a little different with the way I discuss things and wrote this monologue as I thought it up. As with any free writing exercise, I started typing and didn’t stop until I was done; essentially producing a stream of consciousness diatribe. It’s guaranteed more invigorating than a nice cup of tea (once you’re down to just the leaves)! Anyway, I didn’t change any words since finishing. I only added punctuation, edited spelling, etc., and inserted links for your browsing enjoyment.