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throwing trash on the floor - argument advice

blackdot
Posts: 2
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7/20/2014 4:03:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Every now and then I hear the argument, that throwing trash on the floor instead of into bins, creates jobs because the local government has to hire more people to pick it up.

Even though my gut feeling tells me this is insanely wrong, I have trouble to come up with an annihilating, logical and sound counter argument. I thought maybe you could help me with that, so that next time this comes up I can show that person how very wrong she/he is.

The argumentation I tried to establish was, that these resources that are used to maintain the status quo (clean the park or wherever) could be better used in improving the status quo, in actually producing something that was not there before, like goods or education.
The counter-argument here is then, that some people might lack the education or whatever to be used in another sector, so better hire them here than not hire them at all.

This then drifts in a hole other argument about creating jobs that would not be needed, and that somehow we get from "it's economical not to waste resources" to "it's better for the economy to waste resources" in which case again, my gut tells me is very wrong, but I have trouble grasping the whole concept rationally (because in the current economic system, wastefulness with resources actually seems to be a concept). that's a hole other discussion I guess, for the start, I would be thankful if you could help me come up with some good arguments, why not to throw trash on the floor. thanks :)
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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7/20/2014 8:39:28 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/20/2014 4:03:12 AM, blackdot wrote:
Every now and then I hear the argument, that throwing trash on the floor instead of into bins, creates jobs because the local government has to hire more people to pick it up.

Even though my gut feeling tells me this is insanely wrong, I have trouble to come up with an annihilating, logical and sound counter argument. I thought maybe you could help me with that, so that next time this comes up I can show that person how very wrong she/he is.

The argumentation I tried to establish was, that these resources that are used to maintain the status quo (clean the park or wherever) could be better used in improving the status quo, in actually producing something that was not there before, like goods or education.
The counter-argument here is then, that some people might lack the education or whatever to be used in another sector, so better hire them here than not hire them at all.

This then drifts in a hole other argument about creating jobs that would not be needed, and that somehow we get from "it's economical not to waste resources" to "it's better for the economy to waste resources" in which case again, my gut tells me is very wrong, but I have trouble grasping the whole concept rationally (because in the current economic system, wastefulness with resources actually seems to be a concept). that's a hole other discussion I guess, for the start, I would be thankful if you could help me come up with some good arguments, why not to throw trash on the floor. thanks :)

I think it's called the broken window theory or something. (there is also a law enforcement theory of the same name).
There is no counter argument, to my knowledge, because someone will be hired. It doesn't have to be the government, but someone will be hired to replace a broken window, someone has to manufacture the window, someone has to deliver the window, someone has to sell the window.
My work here is, finally, done.
blackdot
Posts: 2
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7/20/2014 11:56:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/20/2014 8:39:28 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
I think it's called the broken window theory or something. (there is also a law enforcement theory of the same name).
There is no counter argument, to my knowledge, because someone will be hired. It doesn't have to be the government, but someone will be hired to replace a broken window, someone has to manufacture the window, someone has to deliver the window, someone has to sell the window.

Hmm. I heard of that too. Someone will be hired to fix the window yes, however the thing (eg a suit) you wanted to buy with that money instead, wont be produced. You basically get a new window instead of the suit. However then you have lost resources, because you still have your window, which you had before, but no suit. On the "work generating" side, one could maybe say it doesnt matter, because this time the windowmaker did get a job instead of the suitmaker. But on the resource side, you, as in my trash-throwing example, rebuild the status quo instead of adding to it. couldnt this be used as a basis for a deminishing argumentation? :D
Khaos_Mage
Posts: 23,214
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7/20/2014 1:51:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/20/2014 11:56:44 AM, blackdot wrote:
At 7/20/2014 8:39:28 AM, Khaos_Mage wrote:
I think it's called the broken window theory or something. (there is also a law enforcement theory of the same name).
There is no counter argument, to my knowledge, because someone will be hired. It doesn't have to be the government, but someone will be hired to replace a broken window, someone has to manufacture the window, someone has to deliver the window, someone has to sell the window.

Hmm. I heard of that too. Someone will be hired to fix the window yes, however the thing (eg a suit) you wanted to buy with that money instead, wont be produced. You basically get a new window instead of the suit. However then you have lost resources, because you still have your window, which you had before, but no suit. On the "work generating" side, one could maybe say it doesnt matter, because this time the windowmaker did get a job instead of the suitmaker. But on the resource side, you, as in my trash-throwing example, rebuild the status quo instead of adding to it. couldnt this be used as a basis for a deminishing argumentation? :D

I think the issue, at its core, is you and the other person may be arguing two different things. He is arguing for creating jobs, while you are arguing for creating better jobs (i.e. better use of resources).

The best counter would probably be it doesn't create a job, since it is a zero sum, except government can go into debt, unlike businesses, so, government can create jobs above the zero sum, but with consequences (like inflation or devaluing the currency).
My work here is, finally, done.