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Wednesday 21 Feb 2018 | 04:48 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 21 Feb 2018 | 04:48 | SYDNEY

America, glazier to the world



1 April 2010 08:18

Two American libertarian blogs that I frequent, one by Will Wilkinson and the other from the Cato Institute, are featuring a short video explaining Bastiat's broken windows fallacy:

First of all, I really wish they hadn't used that 9/11 footage. Still gives me chills.

Second, According to the video, the claim that World War II saved America from the Great Depression is an example of the broken windows fallacy. But is it really? It is surely true that, consistent with Bastiat's claim, World War II was a huge economic loss for the world as a whole — it was one giant broken window in the global village.

But that's not necessarily inconsistent with the claim that the war helped America escape the Depression. After all, although there's no net benefit to the village in Bastiat's example, there is one guy who benefits — the glazier. And in World War II , America became the glazier to the world.

UPDATE: Will Wilkinson and I are discussing this in the comments section of his blog.

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