While seemingly trying to argue that human advancement ought to mean more time spent at leisure versus work, socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accidentally mixed up the names of two legendary economists.
She made the remarks while answering a question on Instagram sometime Friday or Saturday about the alleged benefits of a four-day workweek.
“It’s funny that you ask this because I was just reading today about how Milton Keynes, a famous economist back in the day, predicted that by 2030, US GDP would grow six to eight times what it is, which would allow for everyday people to work 15 hours a week,” she said as the Instagram Story seen below began:
No “famous economist” named Milton Keynes exists or has ever existed. It appears AOC accidentally created “Milton Keynes” from thin air by combining the first name of famous free-market economist Milton Friedman with the last name of famous big government economist John Maynard Keynes.
After realizing her error, she reportedly wrote the following in a subsequent Instagram Story: “UGGGH TYPO. It’s John Maynard Keynes. Mixed his name with Milton Friedman — a (very) different economist.”
Except her mistake wasn’t a typo …
As the original video and the congresswoman’s subsequent and equally erroneous correction went viral, mockery and derision began to trend on Twitter.
Some of it focused on the fact that the congresswoman graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in both international relations and economics.
.@AOC reveals the meaningless of an economics degree today. Her embrace of #socialism has her so confused that she mixes up #Friedman & #Keynes. As #Hayek said: “If socialists understood economics they wouldn’t be socialists.” https://t.co/Z0gusVZgPR
— Prof. Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) February 9, 2020
Someone should investigate how this dunce was awarded a degree in Economics.
And they say Trump voters are rubes!
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) February 9, 2020
Seriously, has someone verified she went to college, let alone has an economics degree?
— Hope (@Hoping4agirl) February 9, 2020
She also managed to completely mispronounce Keynes. Wasn’t she an econ major? Embarrassing.
— Justin Merrittt (@justinmerrit) February 8, 2020
There’s no way to convey in writing how hard I’m laughing! I think I’m gonna call Boston University and grill them on what they’re teaching their students because AOC cannot pass a high school level economics test guaranteed! I think they just gave her a degree so she’d leave!
— Dennis Falcone (@DennisFalcone3) February 9, 2020
It’s a travesty. Maybe this is why there’s a push on socialist agenda to forgive student debt… Some sort of penance to rid themselves of the guilt for sleeping through classes.
— Life’s what you make it (@SnapJag) February 9, 2020
The rest of it centered on her odd definition of a “typo”:
So if you were “just reading about this”, how was it a “typo”? Your act is stale.
— Steve McLaughlin (@SteveMcNY) February 9, 2020
How hilarious that she writes “Oops…typo” when she SAID IT??!! She’s ridiculous! And sadly she thinks we’ll but this nonsense.
— Will (@WillSC2017) February 9, 2020
So when you speak something incorrectly it is now a typo? @AOC
— Sharon Hines (@shines46) February 9, 2020
“The thing about that is that Keynes’ predictions weren’t completely wrong,” AOC continues in the video up top. “U.S. GDP and technological advancement has grown so much, to the end point of product productivity per person skyrocketing as well.”
“The problem is that those advancements have not been enjoyed by the very people who are actually producing the goods in our society. And so the issue right now … is national economic growth actually tied to improvements in people’s lives?”
The answer would depend on how she defines “improvements in people’s lives.” If she defines it based on the standard of living, a measurable quantity that refers “to the level of wealth, comfort, material goods and necessities available to a certain socioeconomic class or geographic area,” according to Investopedia, then the answer would be yes. But if she defines it as “quality of life,” a subjective term that simply measures perceived happiness, then the answer might be different.
“Productivity is the most important determinant of the standard of living of a group of people, a nation or a planet. … The great gains in standard of living have come from higher output per hour,” William Conerly, Ph.D., wrote for Forbes five years ago.
But some, particularly those with a penchant for socialism, disagree.
“In fact, [the] 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in economics or the equivalent of it went to economists that concluded that for certain advanced economies, growth in GDP doesn’t necessarily correlate in growth of living,” AOC concludes.
“We really need to focus on who’s actually enjoying the fruits of that productivity. So it’s not about making more money, but it’s about how that money is actually being distributed, and whether people are earning what they actually produce.”
While people earning more would certainly be nice, it’s not clear that pushing for shorter work weeks would engender that result — or be good for society.
The Foundation of Economic Education notes that part of the reason humanity has progressed so much over the centuries and millennia is because of humankind’s willingness to work hard.
“The cultivation of domestic crops and livestock over 10,000 years ago may have been the greatest innovation for economic growth in human history. For the first time, there was such a food surplus that only a small proportion of the people had to focus on food production, leaving everyone else free to invent and produce other forms of value,” the foundation noted last year.
But what would have happened if those with free time had instead chosen to “invest” that time in leisure versus advancement?
“If everyone had chosen leisure, the population would not have boomed. If some people chose leisure, they were out-populated and outcompeted by those who went with option number two.”
All this raises the question of what exactly constitutes human advancement. Does it simply mean more time for leisure, activity, and heathenism, or does it mean working smarter, producing more, growing population-wise, creating new inventions/medicines/etc. and, hopefully, one day conquering the stars?
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