Monday, 27 October 2008

Oh Good Grief!

This is one of those little things that seriously annoys me. OK, so they're going to spend some money of electric cars. Wonderful, I hope they have fun. One of the justifications put forward is this:

Building on an announcement made by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in July this year, Monday's plans could lead to the creation of 10,000 new British jobs and help preserve many thousands more.

"Creating jobs" isn't a good thing. Jobs are a cost of whatever it is that you're doing. We could create lots of jobs by banning tractors and insisting that farmers use teams of chavs to pull their ploughs. But I think we all agree that this would make our food cost more, said people needing more money to run than a tractor does?

The same with 10,000 jobs with electric cars. We've got to pay those 10,000 people each and every week. So their wages are a cost to us of this scheme. "Creating" 10,000 jobs just means 10,000 more people we've got to pay.

And to go a little further into hte economics, it also means that we lose whatever else it was that those 10,000 would have done if they weren't checking the acid level in our batteries. This is what economists call opportunity costs. If they're working on our cars then they're not building windmills, or wiping babies' bottoms, discovering the cure for cancer or lagging our roofs.

Time for everyone to grasp this simple fact....creating jobs is a cost of a scheme, not a benefit.