From: Tom Walker
Sent: October 27, 2021 3:49 PM
Subject: Lump of labor fallacy
I just came across your article, “Examining the Lump of Labor Fallacy Using a Simple Economic Model,” from November of last year on the St. Louis Fed website. I have done quite a bit of research on this topic and I was dismayed to see the old canard of a fallacy recycled without any attention to the documentation refuting the perennial fallacy claims.
You state that “the ‘lump of labor’ fallacy is evident in many people’s thinking” but you present no evidence. Do you have any evidence? I suspect you don’t. Did you look for evidence? Or is “economic education” a matter of taking inference for evidence?
Instead of evidence, you insinuate that anyone who has “felt threatened by new technology or the entrance of new people into the labor force” believes the fallacy. In case your reader has overlooked that inference, you then make your point explicit with the statement, “[t]hese fears are rooted in a mistaken zero-sum view of the economy…”
I could eviscerate your ‘page one’ propaganda piece point-by-point but presumably you were simply making an “easy to read” version of what you had been taught and had never really thought about or questioned. Instead I am attaching two of my articles that examine the fallacy claim in historical context in hopes of furthering your economic education. I would be very interested to hear your response to the points I raise about the alleged fallacy in these publications.
PS: to quote FRB senior advisor Jeremy Rudd, “I leave aside the deeper concern that the primary role of mainstream economics in our society is to provide an apologetics for a criminally oppressive, unsustainable, and unjust social order”*