We must have full employment as a goal, many say. In fact, our goal ought to be maximum productivity. When we offer the best economic results, we benefit the greatest number of people. The systemic nature of a process that places maximum importance on what is truly important ends up producing greater good for the greatest number of people.

You can have full employment and weaker productivity, anyway. In the long run, this is economic folly and produces greater misery for more people. As economist Henry Hazlitt tells us, “Primitive tribes are naked, and wretchedly fed and housed, but they do not suffer from unemployment.”[1]

Why then our President laments that companies try to increase productivity by creating technologies that require less people?  I know that in government they see virtue in having ten union workers go on a trip to fix a light bulb. They see such exercise as placing the person over profits, giving a paycheck to a family man so he can take care of the children. Sounds lofty, sounds charitable; but it is not. As it is economic nonsense, the unintended consequences of the exercise haunt us till they destroy us.

Every time a politician comes and tries to convince you to increase some government budget or raise someone’s taxes because “it is fair”, beware! His economic vision is directed toward the accumulation of power on “wiser hands”, his own. Instead of allowing compassion and love to flow systemically, undirected, they want to impose it because they know better.

When what ought to remain as a means becomes a goal, we end up with less of what we intended to purposely maximize. The easiest thing in the world is to have full employment. Nations have used slavery, serfdom, and central planning to have full employment and the result is often misery, death, violation of rights and less production.  Start a war and recruit everyone to it and you have full employment or control all the means of production and force even the idle to work and you have the same. You can have it!

Again and again, politicians and religionists talk of full employment, minimum wage, better working conditions, more benefits, jobs plans, maternity and paternity leave, free health care, free condoms, shorter weekly hours and longer vacation time. Where is the emphasis on greater output and production? The former are discussed as if they are floating in the sky, things that exist in their own universe and cost nothing to no one, as if there is no relationship between them and production.

That is a good reason why governments crumble and societies rot. But no worries, bailouts are at hand and we will never run short of other people’s money to fix our mistakes…

[1] Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (New York: Harper, 1st. ed 1946; 1979) p. 71.