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Sandi Toskvig Sure Doesn’t Understand Economics

Comments like this are one of those little markers of someone getting entirely the wrong end of the stick. It is to entirely invert the point and purpose of everything we do in and with the economy:

The Women’s Budget Group has shown that if you invest 2% of GDP in the care sector, you get double the number of jobs compared to the same investment in construction.

A desperate failure there – jobs are a cost, not a benefit.

What we’re interested in is the output and we’d much prefer to get that with minimal inputs. If we can build a bridge with 100 tonnes of steel then no one at all is going to applaud because you’ve used 200 tonnes to build it now, are they? Equally, if we’ve task x to perform and we can do it with the labour of 100 people then that’s better than doing that same task with the labour of 200. Jobs are a cost of our getting that task done.

Even people don’t like having jobs. They like to be able to consume and for that, often enough, they’ll need an income. A job is the cost of gaining an income. For the employer the same is true, they want the work done, creating a job and paying someone an income to do it is the cost of getting that work done. At the societal level jobs are a cost. If all need to be out in the fields harvesting the corn then we can’t have short Danes making cute jokes on baking shows, can we? The lack of quips is a cost of jobs in agriculture.

Flip it slightly, we all know that higher productivity is what makes us richer. Great, so what is higher productivity? It’s more output from the same labour, or the same output from less labour. Again, we’re insisting that labouring to do something, a job doing something, is a cost.

Now, it might well be true that we’d prefer to have that caring output than more things that can be dropped on feet. Might well desire more of that traditionally female output than male. But the argument that such and such creates more jobs is an argument against doing it, not one in favour. And absolutely anyone who indicates that they don’t understand this is revealing that they’ve really very little clue of the subject under discussion, economics.

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Shibusa ??
Shibusa ??
6 years ago

She should be Spad to Diane Abbott with an understanding like that

Steve
Steve
6 years ago

Damn, Tim. Disqus… why? Whyyyyy? Anyway, Sandi: recently delivered the annual Adam Smith lecture in Kirkcaldy, Fife Cool. It was the first time a woman had been trusted to give this economics lecture all by herself. Nice way to thank her hosts, eh? I chose as the subject of my lecture women’s exclusion from the formal economy. Presumably women buy all their clothes, furniture, nick-nacks and groceries on the black market. Never, as it happens, has this been more relevant than now, as the full horror of the gender pay gap is revealed It’s horrifying how the BBC expects marginally… Read more »

Marius
Marius
6 years ago
Reply to  Steve

The Womens Equality Party is at the apex of entitled middle-class whining.

Shadeburst
Shadeburst
6 years ago

“Even people don’t like having jobs.” I question that. Benefit scroungers apart, most of us feel the urge to do something productive with our time. Jobs are a challenge, an opportunity to test our skills, prove our worth and find our place in the hierarchy. If our jobs don’t satisfy us, we normally wish for a better job. Hobbies are evidence that when we have idle time, we seek for work to occupy it. For most of us, we are what we do.

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
6 years ago
Reply to  Shadeburst

I certainly don’t like having a job, it gets in the way of getting any work done.

JamesInNZ
JamesInNZ
6 years ago
Reply to  Shadeburst

I don’t like having a job so much that they have to pay me to have one.

Hobbies are things that I enjoy doing, and so don’t seek payment to compensate me for doing it.

moqifen
moqifen
6 years ago

I can’t be the only one who finds Sandi Toskvigs whole shtick vey tiresome. This article only goes to reinforce that opinion

Hallowed Be
Hallowed Be
6 years ago

Listened to the lecture. (1 hour) Not too much about Adam Smith’s other than acknowledging his insight that markets allow people do things for other people acting in their own interest. Sandi tacks on equality as also being in everyone’s self interest . She does rather adopt a stands to reason kind of approach to calling for equality of outcome rather than opportunity. Would have been nice to delved a little bit more on that. To be fair Sandi doesn’t claim to be an economist. Pretty much only claims to be a Dane and points out that Nordic countries’ happiness… Read more »

Shibusa ????????
Shibusa ????????
6 years ago

She should be Spad to Diane Abbott with an understanding like that

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