Friday, January 29, 2010


The Unemployment Game Show

Tony G. apparently has nothing better to do than send me funny videos. Maybe he's not in the labor force?

Not to defend the government, but aren't Austrians vulnerable to this exact criticism? That is, a lot of the people considered "unemployed" today, would *not* be considered unemployed in the relevant sense by Austrians ("involuntary employment") -- they'd use an estimate yielding an even lower result!

For example, if you're an out-of-work engineer that won't take a $7/hour starbucks job despite it being available, well, you don't count toward the relevant unemployement rate Austrians use as a metric.

(I remember asking you about this on antistate years ago, but Paul Birch intervened and defused the question by pointing out the multiple negatives...)
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But Austrians don't use math, Silas...

Hmm that's an interesting question. Well, for one thing (as you note) we need to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary unemployment; so the Austrian would still admit that the laid-off engineer who's holding out for a better job than Starbucks, is still unemployed.

You know I'm not really sure what the official canon is on this. Even after a boom-bust cycle, presumably there are a bunch of people who are "voluntarily" unemployed in that sense, and the problem with the boom-bust cycle is that it lowers available wage rates on prospective jobs, so that more people choose to be unemployed.
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