Here’s an excerpt from my Economics book:
“Supply-siders believe that how long and how hard people work depends on the amounts of additional after-tax earnings they derive from their efforts. They say that government should reduce marginal tax rates on earned incomes to induce more work, and therefore increase aggregate inputs of labor…. The higher opportunity cost of leisure would encourage people to substitute work for leisure. This increase in productive effort could be achieved in many ways: by increasing the number of hours worked per day or week, by encouraging workers to postpone retirement, by inducing more people to enter the labor force, by motivating people to work harder, and by avoiding long periods of unemployment.”
Isn’t that fine? In this excerpt, it’s the supply-siders talking about maximizing work and productivity, but it’s not limited to them; all economists see that as a good thing. In other words, the economic theorists are busy trying to minimize our pleasure. That’s their mission. They want us all to work longer and harder, so that more goods are created, so that more consumers can be born to work harder to create more goods to allow more consumers and more goods and more work. To an economist, there is no such thing as “enough.”
I’ve spent four months with this textbook. There are many passages similar to this one. I’ve learned what I was supposed to learn, at least to the point that I could perform adequately on tests, yet I feel, between the authors and myself, that someone’s missing a critical point, and that someone is not me.
This is the point: is it not evident that a person should maximize leisure? “Leisure” means time that is one’s own; doesn’t it make sense that we should try to have as much of that as we can?
Yes. Yes, it does.
I fail, on a basic level, to accept McConnell and Brue and their cohorts’ premise. I fundamentally disagree with them.
And that’s what I’ve learned from my Macroeconomics course.