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Old 11-01-2012, 01:38 PM   #1
joe
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Default Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Whenever there's a hurricane, you're likely to hear some variation of the following: "I feel terrible for the people affected by the hurricane, but at least the destruction will create jobs and boost the economy." The argument is that yes, it sucks that someones house was destroyed. But now they have to hire someone to repair the house, which gives that person a job, which gives the wood manufactures more business, etc etc etc.

In 7 minutes, you can see why this argument is nonsense and a stark violation of common sense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR6Ex...eature=g-all-u

Btw, I was on the outskirts of the Hurricane and didn't have power for a few days. Feels so damn good to be on the internet again. Ahhhh.
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

7 minutes?

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Old 11-01-2012, 01:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

I'm not watching a 7 minutes video, but I'm guessing it's like this:

RE-building is actually inefficient, because you're redoing something that has already been done. If you were building something new, it'd be productive. However here you're just building something that has been broken down. You go from 0 to -3 (destroyed) and back to 0 (rebuild).

Just imagine if someone keeps on building a tower, and knocking it down. Then build it again, knock down forever. People keep having jobs, but it's a total waste of time and money. Each time something is destroyed, value is lost.

That time spend re-building could be spent building new architecture, manpower go into other projects which help the city. That new opportunity cost is lost. Rebuild is just going around in circles.
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Old 11-01-2012, 01:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Quote:
Originally Posted by ripthekik
I'm not watching a 7 minutes video, but I'm guessing it's like this:

RE-building is actually inefficient, because you're redoing something that has already been done. If you were building something new, it'd be productive. However here you're just building something that has been broken down. You go from 0 to -3 (destroyed) and back to 0 (rebuild).

Just imagine if someone keeps on building a tower, and knocking it down. Then build it again, knock down forever. People keep having jobs, but it's a total waste of time and money. Each time something is destroyed, value is lost.

That time spend re-building could be spent building new architecture, manpower go into other projects which help the city. That new opportunity cost is lost. Rebuild is just going around in circles.

and don't forget the insurance companies and our government are spending a ton of money to cover those losses, which in turn are paid by higher premiums for insurance coverage and higher taxing.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

My guess is that the video says "Storm recovery improves growth numbers but doesnt improve welfare. And, since the intent of GDP is to get a general understanding of a population welfare, these "growth" numbers are meaningless.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

@ comparing a hurricane to a kid throwing a rock through a window.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jailblazers7
My guess is that the video says "Storm recovery improves growth numbers but doesnt improve welfare. And, since the intent of GDP is to get a general understanding of a population welfare, these "growth" numbers are meaningless.


No, it's the ol' rock-through-the-window-to-stimulate-growth fallacy.
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Quote:
Originally Posted by ripthekik
Just imagine if someone keeps on building a tower, and knocking it down. Then build it again, knock down forever. People keep having jobs, but it's a total waste of time and money. Each time something is destroyed, value is lost.

That time spend re-building could be spent building new architecture, manpower go into other projects which help the city. That new opportunity cost is lost. Rebuild is just going around in circles.


You forget one crucial detail though. Imagine an economy where the whole economic activity revolves around that tower, it can actually be a sustainable economy as long as the tower itself contributes some revenue/utility in that year between it being built and it being knocked down.

I'm not saying it's a very smart model obviously, but oddly enoguh if you really want to, you can continue building and knocking it down as long as you can derive some use from it.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Quote:
Originally Posted by brantonli
You forget one crucial detail though. Imagine an economy where the whole economic activity revolves around that tower, it can actually be a sustainable economy as long as the tower itself contributes some revenue/utility in that year between it being built and it being knocked down.

I'm not saying it's a very smart model obviously, but oddly enoguh if you really want to, you can continue building and knocking it down as long as you can derive some use from it.
If it generates revenue, what would be the need of knocking it down though? Why not build a second tower? Put those men to better use?

Unless the building undergoes depreciation within a certain period of time until it produces no more. In this scenario, then it makes sense to knock down, rebuild, to generate income again. Then the job create would make sense.

But the properties the hurricanes knock down are not of such characteristic.. they are stable infrastructures which continuously provide for the city: homes, roads, schools etc. So it would not make sense to knock those property down and rebuild, since they do not depreciate to 0 that fast.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Shorter Peter Schiff: WWII worsened the Depression.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:16 PM   #11
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Ofcourse it hampers, people not having their money in banks anymore because they have to ****ing rebuild homes, to ****ing spend their last penny.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:23 PM   #12
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

no power going on 4 days for me and i'm on the cleveland westside. still near 100k people without power here. Sh*t sucks.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:09 PM   #13
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinNYC
Shorter Peter Schiff: WWII worsened the Depression.

It did. Please explain to me how redirecting so many resources (labor, money, productive materials) away from the private sector and into a war, somehow was good for the economy? Money that could have been spent growing food, feeding livestock, creating shoes, etc? Nevermind whether or not WW2 was a necessary war (separate argument), just focusing on the economics of it.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Are people really that bummed on the video because it's 7 minutes long? I eat hour long speeches like it's candy! I thought 7 minutes was a super reasonable length for a video to dispel such a common myth. ha. That's actually why I posted this one, because it was so short that I thought some of you might actually watch it. Notice how I proudly typed the video length in the OP. . ha

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jailblazers7
My guess is that the video says "Storm recovery improves growth numbers but doesnt improve welfare. And, since the intent of GDP is to get a general understanding of a population welfare, these "growth" numbers are meaningless.

It says something similar to that.. but it's nice to hear the full reasoning I'd say.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:16 PM   #15
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Default Re: Yes, hurricanes/war/broken windows do hamper economic growth

Quote:
Originally Posted by DukeDelonte13
no power going on 4 days for me and i'm on the cleveland westside. still near 100k people without power here. Sh*t sucks.

Damn all the way into Cleveland? Maybe that's common knowledge but I haven't seen much news. 1 because I generally hate the news, but 2 because I've also been without power. When those lights turn on you'll be so happy dude, if they haven't already
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