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Are You A Moron

2004-03-10

Category: politics

I've been watching the news again and that's a bad thing. It's annoying to watch the local news so I'll turn to public television and watch shows there. Top things off with stuff like CNBC and other cable news. They all talk about the economy and they site polls of the average American. That's what gets me.

Economics is a reasonably complex subject. It takes many people many years of study to master the science. Businesses and governments hire economists for their special knowledge. If you have not studied this science and you have a strong opinion on the economy, you are probably a moron.

I mean that in the nicest way, of course. (No, not really. I want you to think about it.)

Think about your job or something that you know really well. Think about all the time you spend getting to know all the details of your personal specialty. Now think about your opinion of people who obviously don't know the subject but want to talk like they know everything. Those people look like complete idiots, don't they?

That's my point. Sure, everyone is welcome to his or her own opinion, but you can't pass your opinion off as an Educated Opinion unless you are actually educated. Unless you've taken multiple courses in economics and got a grade of 'B' or higher, your opinion may not be the best source of economic policy.

So whose opinion does count? That can be tough. You have to analyze the source. If Mr. Greenspan tells you something about the economy, you can probably believe it. When a politician is running for office and blames your personal economic situation on his or her opponent, you may want to be skeptical.

Here are the simple rules:

  • For economic matters, Market Forces have more to say than any particular administration.
  • You and your friends drive Market Forces when you decide what to buy and what to sell. Yep, I said sell. When you work you are selling your labor. If you really want to be productive, look around and see what else you can (legally) sell.
  • Some people may have been born better off than you, but somewhere in their ancestry was at least one person who was at your level or lower. That person either worked hard, worked smart, or got lucky and set up that dynasty. Ask your kids what they think of that.
  • Market Forces are in the category of Forces of Nature. As such, those forces are very impersonal and do not intentionally favor one group over another. Just remember that if you aren't the biggest, meanest animal at the watering hole then you'll need to be faster and more aware of your surroundings.

Finally, you can actually take classes in economics. It's not that hard to learn if you put a little effort into it. If you can afford the classes, that's great. If you can't, there are many programs designed just to help people go to school. (They do this because it is a Capital Expenditure that allows productivity to increase. You'll learn all about this in economics class!)

So please, don't be a moron. If you don't really know anything about economics, don't pretend that you do. More importantly, don't trust politicians (on either side) when they talk about the economy and who does what.


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