The False Dilemma of Die or Die


Elsewhere someone lamented that we have to either go out and die of COVID19 (or, as I like to call it, Winnie the Flu), or stay home and die of poverty.  They lamented that we couldn’t think of “some alternate arrangement” like paying people to stay home.

You can come up with an “alternate arrangement” to pay people all you want but wealth isn’t in money. It’s in the goods and services you can buy with that money. Some people can do their work from home and continue to produce what they produce in their ‘jammies at home if they choose. However, not every product can be produced that way. Indeed, most cannot. Someone has to venture out into that risky world and do. the. work. to produce the various goods and services. It may be running machines on an assembly line somewhere, tending crops in a field, or delivering the various goods to where they need to go.

The problem with the shutdowns is less that people aren’t being paid as it is that the goods and services are not being produced. (Production of goods and service is called “economic output.”) That’s why I rolled my eyes at the compensation check sent to people because of the shutdowns. The goods and services aren’t being produced. Making more money available to chase that reduced economic output? There’s a word for that. (And, yes, I spent mine.  The application of that word would happen whether I did or not, so I’d only be harming myself by not spending it.)

If farmers aren’t out in their fields growing crops and raising livestock. If those crops and livestock aren’t processed and prepared for market. If transportation isn’t available to move the processed crops and livestock to points of sale then. people. don’t. get. food. That’s reality. No “alternate arrangement” giving people money to stay home will fix that.

Now apply that to every single good and service out there.

People don’t need “alternate arrangements” to pay them. They don’t need ration books so they can get what some third party who isn’t in their shoes thinks they “need” (and no more). They need to go back to work creating the economic output that is the life’s blood of a decent standard of living.

3 thoughts on “The False Dilemma of Die or Die”

  1. So many people live so disengaged from what makes the world turn – they have no idea how their food gets to them, they have no idea what goes into making their cellphone, they have no idea how housing gets built, and not a friggin’ clue about making a pencil.

    And so very, very many of those folks are progressives. Because it’s easy to believe the lies when you’re not a conscious part of what makes everything tick. Money and regulation will fix any problem.

    Good – though too short – post.


  2. dilemma – two horned. No matter which way you jump, you get impaled. In Greek philosophy, however, there was always a third way out, between the horns, as it were.

    I noticed that for the first time our grocery store was looking a little sparse. Not sure if that is a long term concern or just that it was Sunday and they hadn’t replenished the shelves. Thankfully I have lots of food, but perishables could become an issue which would lead to a much less interesting diet for me. Maybe it is time to order a tub of powdered heavy cream for my coffee.


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