Jobs Are A Cost Of Windfarms, Not A Benefit

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The Times reports on a weird perversion of economics here. People are complaining that the new windfarms are going to be too cheap:

Britain is forecast to miss out on more than half of the £50 billion investment in building offshore wind farms in its waters this decade, with the majority of orders for turbines and other equipment expected to go to factories and suppliers overseas.

A commitment to quadruple UK offshore wind capacity by 2030 was one of the key policy proposals outlined by Boris Johnson in his ten-point plan last week to cut emissions and create jobs. However, government figures predict that only about £20 billion of the investment will go to Britain.

Investment is spending money in order to gain something. Work is the something you’ve got to do in order to gain the money that is being invested. Work, that is, is a cost of the investment, not a benefit of it.

Sure, people like to have incomes because they like swapping them for the things they can consume. But it’s still true that the work they’ve got to go and do is a cost of gaining those incomes.

Work, jobs, they’re a cost, not a benefit.

So, the complaint here is that we’ll get those windmills at lower cost to us Britons. Because we’ll have to do less work to gain them. And how stupid is that? Why, it’s almost stupid enough to be a political complaint, isn’t it?

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Spike
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Spike

Well, no; it’s stipulated that someone has to do £50 billion of work to get those wind farms up. If foreigners can do it better/cheaper, fine, that will tend to reduce the price tag. (Might even spur a review of British labor laws.) But the choices do not include building a wind farm without work. “The complaint here is that….we’ll have to do less work to gain them.” No, we’ll have to work at something else to raise the funds to pay the foreign firms.

jgh
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jgh

But Brits will either have to do £50bn of work to pay other Brits to provide the gain, or Brits will have to do £20bn of work to pay funny foreigners to provide the gain.
Alternatively, Brits could do £50bn of work, buy £20bn of gain from foreigners and still have £30bn left over for other stuff. Fast women and hot cars.

Boganboy
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Boganboy

Of course I’d spend the 50 billion on a nuke. You might actually get some useful power out of that.

Ian Baxter
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Ian Baxter

If creating jobs was a benefit then surely Jeff Bezos would be a saint? (1m Amazon jobs as at July 2020).

Spike
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Spike

But Bezos didn’t set out to issue 1m paychecks; that million incidentally does useful work, for which Bezos should indeed be ahead of Pope Francis in line. It was Ford Motor Company that was “a pension system that occasionally manufactures cars.”