Robert Prather’s comments on a Paul Craig Roberts column on steel tariffs contain a very important nugget to remember about the process of economic growth:
When this country was founded 19 out of 20 people worked in agriculture. By the middle of the 19th century employment in agriculture had decreased to half of the work force and the country was richer. Today, employment in agriculture has dropped to less than 3% of the work force and we are richer still. Why? Temporary unemployment and dynamic labor markets. Labor is freed for other pursuits and the total product of the economy increases. Output in agriculture has gone through the roof on a per-acre basis and will continue to do so with advances in technology such as genetically-engineered foods. The same thing has happened in the needle trades — textiles — and it is a net gain for the economy in terms of output.
And Steve Verdon’s post on the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Folk Theorem is a very worthwhile read. It hits me where I live.