“Idle resources are means of production that are seemingly being left unused — an obvious example is an unemployed laborer. If these means of production are ‘idle’, what harm is there in government employing these resources? …. The correct answer to this question is the one that explains why the supposed problem of ‘idle resources’ is actually not a problem at all, because resources are not purposelessly left idle .... That some goods may not be applied toward the attainment of a specific end does not mean that these resources are now idle and valueless. It simply suggests that these resources are better saved for the attainment of another end.”There you have it. All those unemployed people are “better saved for the attainment of another end.” It doesn’t matter one iota that these people want to work, that people don’t want to lose their houses, live on the street or under bridges because of financial hardship, or that the social and economic losses under high involuntary unemployment make society poorer.
This type of Austrian analysis falls flat on its face.
And those of us who reject the fable of natural rights/natural law arguments for anarcho-capitalism have ethical arguments justifying government intervention on moral grounds alone. Catalan could say very little in reply, except get drawn into a debate on moral theory.
Catalan’s conclusion contains a completely unsupported assertion:
“Government, in fact, is a large disequilibrating force on the market. It forcibly redistributes economic goods, removing them from a process of economization and instead investing them toward the realization of less important, or less preferred, ends.”How would he know that a democratically-elected government’s spending program does not reflect the important, preferred goals and wants of the community? If the majority of people have voted for such a program, then clearly these are ends that command wide support. If, say, a fiscal program is supported by 55% or 60% of the community, then it is a realization of the important and preferred goals of a majority of people.