The Broken Window Fallacy

Frederic Bastiat was the man who came up with the idea of this fallacy. The fallacy goes like this: A boy throws a brick through a shop’s window, A crowd quickly gathers to sympathize with the poor shopkeeper. After a while, the crowd begins to feel the need to philosophize and a man comes up with the idea that the boy actually did a service to the economy because now the shopkeeper will have to buy a new window from the glass maker. The glass maker now has more money and then he can go buy a suit for example. The tailor then has more cash and so on.

Now, this sounds fine, but the reason that this is a fallacy is that it only shows what you can see. What I mean by that is what we don’t see is that the shopkeeper was going to buy a new bike for his son but now he has to divert that money to buying the new window, thus losing business for the bike maker and so on.

If this wasn’t the case then why don’t we hand kids bricks and let them roam free? This fallacy, though refuted time after time, is still being used today to praise WWII and the earthquakes in Haiti to name just a few.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. As always if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to contact me in private by heading over to the Contact Me page, or just commenting below.


2 thoughts on “The Broken Window Fallacy

  1. Well the key feature of the Broken Window Fallacy as it relates to WW2 is that the people who’s things WEREN’T broken benefited. The U.S. was left as the only country in the world with any real manufacturing capability after the widespread destruction in Europe, Russia, China, and Japan that came from the fighting in WW2. Long story short, you’re right that the one who’s window is broken doesn’t benefit.

    Liked by 2 people

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