Reply To: Broken Window ?


I think I see where you’re going. So, the underlying assumption in ‘broken window’ is that the object (soon to be destroyed) is beneficial for the economy therefore it is NOT good to destroy it. For example a window in the original story is a good thing, serving its purpose well.

Counterexample would be something harmful to the economy, for example, expired food. If one buys it and eats it, will get sick or die. Therefore – it is good to destroy it, yes. The world will be better off if a piece of rotten meat on the supermarket shelf is removed and ‘destroyed’.

But in his classic book H.Hazlit implicitly talks about this case too. If I remember well he talks about a factory being destroyed by bombs in the war. And yes, there is a possibility that it was ‘good’ to destroy it – if it became obsolete in a natural, free-market way, just before the bombing. In that case the owner should actually be grateful to the enemy army because he didn’t have to pay anything to put the building down – it was a highly improbable stroke of luck that destruction came just at the right moment.

So, yes, ‘broken window’ works only in the case when something beneficial was destroyed/removed. If it is beneficial, it is bad to destroy it, no matter what verbal jugglery some commentator might try to use.

In your case, these jobs were bad to begin with, so it’s good to remove/destroy them, and ‘broken window’ theme does not directly apply.