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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/8267/the-broken-window-fallacy-1st-century-edition/

The Broken Window Fallacy: 1st Century Edition

July 8, 2008 by

In the 2001 Polish film Quo Vadis, Nero’s minions secretly set fire to Rome to give Nero inspiration for his lousy poetry.

When the Roman citizens, who have lost everything, riot, Petronius, the Roman writer and wit, and also Nero’s courtier, delivers a little speech to the crowd:

“Citizens, the city shall be rebuilt. The gardens or Lucullis, Maecenas, Caesar and Agrippina will be opened.Tomorrow, we shall start distributing wheat, wine, and olives so that each of you fills his belly


Later, Caesar will organize the greatest of all games. Feasts and gifts will follow! The fire will make you wealthier!!”

(Enthusiastic applause and cheers.)


Niki Raapana July 10, 2008 at 2:45 pm

The Seattle Police Department adopted the Broken Window Theory into their mission statement in 1999 (#8). We don’t need fires to rebuild. Modern Americans “suffer” from a vague feeling that nobody cares and nobody is in charge, and that promotes “full-blown-fear.” The solution? Community Oriented Policing Services and Community Economic Development and neighborhood revitalization. HUD Weed&Seed Program identifies the bad “weeds” and replaces them with good “seeds.” Our fire is a slow burning ember that sparks a renewed spirit of community and consensus across the land.

Bruce Koerber July 10, 2008 at 9:28 pm

Here in Cedar Rapids there are ‘broken window theorists’ who trumpet the use of ‘green’ materials for more environmentally-friendly buildings. It is as if the destruction of the interior of the building by floodwaters has lead to improvements!

Maybe trying to find something positive to say is one motivation but good journalism, by definition, does not perpetuate an economic fallacy. Destruction is never an economic plus.

Jonah March 31, 2010 at 7:24 pm
Gerry Flaychy April 1, 2010 at 9:37 am

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