Lunaya Pravda

20 December 2006

Earning and stealing

Thought this little tidbit from an NPR story on the rise in violent crime was... amusing.

"There's clearly a growing number of people who have no future in our economy," Blumstein says. "There are basically three modes of earning income: One is to have a job, the other is welfare. The third is theft."

Clearly there's a reason Mr. Blumstein is a criminologist, not an economist. First, I'd quibble with calling welfare and theft "earning income", since earning implies one is deserving of the money through conduct of fair exchange. ("You give me money, and I'll take it" is not a fair exchange; nor is "You earn the money, and I'll spend it.") Second, where does that welfare money come from? Taken from those who earn. It matters not one whit that the money changed hands twice istead of once.

There are only two methods of gaining income, Mr. Blumstein. Earning and stealing. There is no third.