Make Progress, Not Work | Econ Chronicles
As technological developments increased the US agricultural worker’s output tremendously over the last two centuries, the share of the population employed in agriculture fell from around 90 percent to around 2 percent.
The lay American public supposes that when workers lose their jobs, we become worse off — they suffer from what economist Bryan Caplan calls the make-work bias. But would anyone prefer to live in a society in which many went hungry and no one enjoyed the wealth, financial security, job growth, and innovation created as a result of all those workers losing their farm jobs?
Unfortunately, the more that democracies enact policies that reflect the make-work bias, the closer we come to such a society. Follow Caplan, author of The Myth of the Rational Voter, as he explains the gap between the lay public and the professional economist’s views about the merits and demerits of making work for individuals instead of letting them find work.