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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/2479/the-economics-of-happy-feet/

The Economics of Happy Feet

September 15, 2004 by

  • It is conventional to credit medicines and hospitals for long lives, but we should also give due regard to such conventional consumer products such as shoes that make life past the age of 40 worth living at all.

  • Today a peasant in the fields of a Guatemalan village wears shoes that medieval lords would have traded for their own models made of wood and leather. Even bums who beg for a living in big cities, and do their best to look the part, have a hard time finding shoes that look appropriately worn and ragged.
  • Concerning China, accounting for 80 percent of shoe imports, how interesting a turn of events this is! When capitalists of old used to speak of China, they imagined all the shoes that could be sold to a country so populous. Who would have imagined that it would be China that would turn out to be the maker and seller of shoes to the world?

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{ 4 comments }

Joe Potts September 15, 2004 at 9:22 am

I recall once reading the observation that New York City’s millions COULD live together without lawyers, but that they could NOT, for any length of time, without plumbers. That one stuck with me, especially when I connected it to the idea that plumbing is FAR more important for the health of great numbers of people than antibiotics and x-rays.

Jardinero1 September 15, 2004 at 9:51 am

99% of the gains in longevity during the last century are attributed the availability of clean drinking water, sanitary sewers and mass immunizations which have eliminated most lethal chilhood illnesses. Nine-tenths of one percent is due to improvements in safety and one-tenth of one percent is due to modern medical miracles. These same modern medical miracles are responsible for about 80% of current U.S. healthcare costs.

Robert Blumen September 15, 2004 at 12:24 pm

John Kerry and the AFL-CIO say that cobblers who outsource their shoe making to elves are traitors to the American way of life and should be penalized with tax increases and shoe tarrifs.

Stephane Erler September 15, 2004 at 10:23 pm

Remark: The first to make shoes in China for export to the world were the capitalists from Taiwan who set up shop, offshored their production sites to take advantage of low wages in China, while Taiwan was taking the road to high-tech and higher wages.
American companies like Payless Shoes have built their success on the cooperation with Taiwan-chinese suppliers.
Yes, trade is good for all!

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