Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hey Presto, A Lump of Boilerplate!

Gosh, I guess there are only so many words to go round!

Those FT monkeys, covered in banknotes, "The short working week that holds France back," Financial Times, May 28, 2015:
Introduced in the late 1990s by the Jospin government with that cool disregard for the “lump of labour” fallacy that only those educated at top French universities can contrive, this sought to cut unemployment by reducing the number of hours each individual worked. Do that and, hey presto, the idea was that there would be more jobs to go round. 
Ruth Lea, "Personal view: It's time to break the Government's web of tax fallacies," The Telegraph, Feb. 20, 2006,
My second fallacy is the "lump of public services fallacy". This is based on the idea that there is an immutable relationship between public spending and public services output. Spend the money, which the Chancellor will insist on calling "investment", and, hey presto, there will be a "lump" of "high quality" services.
The Economist: Economics: An A-Z Guide, 2003:
One of the best-known fallacies in ECONOMICS is the notion that there is a fixed amount of work to be done - a lump of LABOUR — which can be shared out in different ways to create fewer or more jobs. For instance, suppose that everybody worked 10% fewer hours. FIRMS would need to hire more workers. Hey presto, UNEMPLOYMENT would shrink.
What explains this remarkable coincidence of terminology?
The key is to exploit journalists’ incredible laziness. If you lay out the information just right, you can shape the story that emerges in the media almost like you were writing those stories yourself. In fact, that’s literally what you’re doing, since many reporters just copied and pasted our text.
Meanwhile, over at Jacobin there is a nice little non-boilerplate, non-plagiarized, non-bullshit essay by Michel Husson and Stephanie Treillet, Liberation Through Vacation: "Reducing working hours is more than a path to full employment. It could help millions live more fulfilling lives.":
Reducing forced labor time opens up various prospects for human and social emancipation. The possibility of emancipating ourselves from forced labor cannot be dissociated from the possibility of reducing exploitation in forced labor. This is the meaning of Simone Weil’s sentence: “No one would accept to be a slave for two hours; to be accepted, daily slavery must last long enough to break something in a human.”

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