This UNC-TV NC Now report on recycling did not bother to get any critical views. That’s not a surprise, especially when it comes to recycling, but the ignorance of basic economics will take your breath away. One recycling firm representative jumped on the “jobs” bandwagon. Did you know that recycling creates eight jobs for everyone created at the landfill. (See the video here at the 8 minute 50 second mark)
Someone should explain this Milton Friedman quip to the reporters at UNC-TV. (Hint: jobs are a cost not a benefit.)
The story goes that Milton Friedman was once taken to see a massive government project somewhere in Asia. Thousands of workers using shovels were building a canal. Friedman was puzzled. Why weren’t there any excavators or any mechanized earth-moving equipment? A government official explained that using shovels created more jobs. Friedman’s response: “Then why not use spoons instead of shovels?”
Perhaps UNC-TV reporters should be required to attend Dr. Roy Cordato’s lecture honoring Milton Friedman’s birthday on Friday at noon. Here are the details and registration information.