Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What if Robin Hood had gotten a job?

There have been a few commentatators that have taken to contrasting Mitt Romney with Robin Hood. Romneyhood, or as Krugman calls it dooh nibor, supposedly takes from the poor and gives to the rich. Nevermind that at most his plan calls for taking less from the rich to give to the poor and nevermind that Robin Hood stole from the government and returned the money to taxpayers. I'll stick with the idea that Robin Hood took from the rich and gave to the poor and ask if the poor might not have been better off if Robin Hood had gotten a job instead.
By getting a job, he would be increasing total output which means that there would be more goods and services available to everybody. As an excellent hunter, he could have used his skills to feed an entire village. His Merry Men could have been building homes, tending crops, or crafting tools. As an added bonus, any resources (guards, fast horses, stones, ...) used by the rich to protect their wealth would also be freed up to be used in productive manners.
In short, using resources to spread wealth instead of creating wealth makes everyone poorer. And as long as scarcity exists, there will always be jobs available for those able to provide the wants and needs of society.