Friday, July 08, 2016

You have to be quick

"Studies show" that raising the minimum wage has no (or very few) unemployment consequences. This is an approximate version of the free-lunch mantra that some in the dirigiste community have adopted. So, have at it. This is, of course, just convenient rhetoric. There are an uncountable number of everyday substitutions in light of price differences. Their timing is always peculiar.

But anything-goes rhetoric is not a problem. Look at who the two major U.S. political parties are about to nominate for president. Anything goes.

Now it also appears that "A Robot-Run Burger Joint is Coming to San Francisco" (h/t Scott Alexander). "Substitutes always and everywhere" is a truism. The interesting question is how many see the substitute as a good one or a bad one. Demand is wonderfully subjective and market tests are all we have. Fortunately, there are market tests all around -- until and unless some make it their project to outlaw them. Then its a race between the innovators and the controllers (see Uber/Lyft, drones that deliver packages, etc.). Staying one step ahead of the controllers is how progress is accomplished