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Extrait du leader de cette semaine sur les innondations à la Nouvelles-Orléans :

History suggests that the hurricane will have little effect on the national economy. Despite all the pictures of sinking hotels and flooded convention centres, the overall impact of natural disasters is often close to neutral : kist output (which will be large) is then compensated for by a surge in reconstruction and public spending (also large). That may be a scant comfort to individual hoteliers, residents and insurers, but on a national level the economic damage will be real but limited/

Pour un journal qui existait déjà quand Bastiat écrivait ses Sophismes Economiques, je trouve ce paragraphe tout à fait inacceptable.

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Extrait du leader de cette semaine sur les innondations à la Nouvelles-Orléans :

Pour un journal qui existait déjà quand Bastiat écrivait ses Sophismes Economiques, je trouve ce paragraphe tout à fait inacceptable.

Oui, j'ai entendu le journaliste en question à la radio et en français: du pain béni pour nos media :icon_up:

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Il faut écrire au courrier des lecteurs.

Sir,

Reading my copy of the Economist while enjoying a nice breakfast and a cup of colombian coffee, I was shocked by the economic nonsense featured in this week's leader ("A city silenced") :

"History suggests that the hurricane will have little effect on the national economy. Despite all the pictures of sinking hotels and flooded convention centres, the overall impact of natural disasters is often close to neutral : kist output (which will be large) is then compensated for by a surge in reconstruction and public spending (also large). That may be a scant comfort to individual hoteliers, residents and insurers, but on a national level the economic damage will be real but limited."

The first issue of the Economist was published in 1843. In 1850, Frédéric Bastiat's "Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas" came out of the printworks. That this book somehow failed to attract the attention of your columnists for the last 155 years is indeed a remarkable feat, but unfortunately it is a very discomforting one.

What Bastiat wrote a little story in the chapter "La vitre brisée", to illustrate a point which perfectly fits the hurricane situation. I sincerely hope that this piece of classical economic litterature will be passed on to the ignoramus who wrote the column.

The story is about a storekeeper whose boy, a naughty little brat, has managed to break the window of his shop. The passers-by try to comfort him by explaining him that the money spent on repairing the window will provide a boost to the local economy, and so that his loss is actually compensated by a corresponding gain made by the glazier. Bastiat then proceeds to explain how nonsensical this reasoning is : although the glazier indeeds makes a profit, provides work to his aides and is able to pay them a salary, the shop owner himself has been deprived of a sum of money. This sum could have been invested for instance in buying new shoes. The broken window diverts money from its intended use to another use. There are two consequences :

- first, the money indeed makes the glazier and his aides richer, but it also deprives the bookkeeper of an additional income. The richer glazier is what we see. The not-richer bookkeeper is what we don't see. Of course, you could argue that so far we are, on the whole, in a zero-sum game.

- But add to that the fact that, instead of enjoying both a window and a book, the shopkeeper now only enjoys a window. He is less satisfied than he could be had the window not be broken. The shopkeeper being a member of society, this means that there is indeed a loss for the society, which is the value of this broken window.

As Bastiat puts it "destruction n'est pas profit".

The huge sums of money that will be used for the reconstruction of the damages caused by hurricane Katrina are diverted from another more productive use, whether they are private (i.e. insurance companies) or "public" (taxes or public borrowing), and are spent just to restore economic potential, not to buy additionnal potential. The "opportunity cost" of the hurricane is huge. I am surprised that your columnists are not aware of this simple economic fact.

To help you enlighten them, I have pasted below the original text by Bastiat. I hope this will help your publication to straighten up its economic standards, which are currently far too shabby to justify the very name "The Economist".

Sincerely yours,

Constantin H.

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To help you enlighten them, I have pasted below the original text by Bastiat. I hope this will help your publication to straighten up its economic standards, which are currently far too shabby to justify the very name "The Economist".

Sincerely yours,

Constantin H.

En effet , the Economist est en crise, j'espére que cette missive va secouer les esprits des rédacteurs de ce journal.Sortir de telles énormités est en effet bien regrettable.

Ps (whaouh tu déchires en anglish constantin /me va se cacher avec son score de 910/990 au toeic :icon_up:)

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Bien joué!

En plus "the economist" n'hésite pas à publier des lettres les critiquant.

Quoiqu'elle aurait plus de chance à être publiée si elle était plus courte à mon avis.

A mon avis, ils doivent résumer le courrier qu'ils reçoivent, non ?

Quoi qu'il en soit, la lettre a été publiée sur Chacun pour Soi.

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