Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Walter E. Williams Wants to Tell You About His Sweet Ride

I happened to read today's editorial by Walter Williams, which tried to justify open markets by alternately comparing trade to free speech, and saying that there's not really any such thing as a country anyhow, so what does it matter? It was all very underthought and poorly argued, but what really caught my eye was the following paragraph, in which he offers a helpful example of the kind of thing he's talking about:

"The bottom line is that what's fair or unfair is an elusive concept and the same applies to trade. Last summer, I purchased a 2010 LS 460 Lexus, through a U.S. intermediary, from a Japanese producer for $70,000. Here's my question to you: Was that a fair or unfair trade? I was free to keep my $70,000 or purchase the car. The Japanese producer was free to keep his Lexus or sell me the car. As it turned out, I gave up my $70,000 and took possession of the car, and the Japanese producer gave up possession of the car and took possession of my money. The exchange occurred because I saw myself as being better off and so did the Japanese producer. I think it was both free and fair trade, and I'd like an American mercantilist to explain to me how it wasn't."

How would this paragraph be different if, instead of mentioning a dollar amount and make of car, he'd just talked about 'money' and a Japanese 'car'? In no way, of course - which raises the question: Why does he include this information in the article?

I can offer three possible theories:

A: An adherent to Worthington's Law, Walter only listens to the opinions of people who make more money than he does, and believes everyone else does the same, so he's desperate to point out how much money he has, so all us proles will know he's worth paying attention to.

B: He believes that if he mentions his car enough times in his articles, he can write it off as a business expense come tax time.

3: Hey, ladies, check it out - when you go out with Wally Wills, you'll be riding in style! But you'll be paying for your own meal, because everyone has to be responsible for their own financial contracts.

Or, hey, maybe he bought such a ridiculous car to fill a yawning gulf in his heart that his money hasn't abated, and when the ache didn't go away, he figured the problem was that he hadn't told enough people about it.

If that's the case, Mission Accomplished, Walter - do you feel better now?

No comments:

Post a Comment