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Experience Required

Friday, November 25, 2016 6:49
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(Don Boudreaux)


Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

You decry Trump cabinet nominees’ lack of relevant experience (“No Experience, No Problem,” Nov. 24).  I share your admiration for relevant experience and, therefore, urge you to more consistently demand that it be used whenever possible.

For example, please join me in demanding an end to government-imposed restrictions on labor-market contracts.  Because each worker has unique preferences and constraints – and because only each individual worker personally experiences his or her unique preference for, say, money income compared to paid leave and other fringe benefits – government officials who restrict workers’ range of contracting options by requiring that all jobs offer paid leave substitute their own inexperience of each of millions of workers’ unique preferences and constraints for each of these worker’s deep experiences with these unique preferences and constraints.

Put differently, because no one is more experienced in me than me, and no one is more experienced in you than you, for me to interfere in the way that you lead your life, and for you to interfere in the way that I lead my life, is to substitute inexperience for experience.  This reality is not changed if one or both of us is a government official with much experience at interfering inexpertly in the lives of multitudes of strangers.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030


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