And so I'm reading TPM and see that they cover the second installment of Beck University, Glenn Beck's latest money-making scheme to convince rightwing rubes to fork over even more of their soft-earned money. And this one was even worse than the first.
And the funniest part about it is that, as part of the lesson, the "instructor" actually admits why he got the job: Because he's the cheapest. Here's the "lesson" in economics he attempted to impart, as given by TPM:
"The number one concept to best understand wealth," Buckner explained, "is to understand the value of your time."And...no. In case you weren't lucky enough to take an economics class by someone who actually knew what they were talking about, let me assure you, this isn't economics. Or at least, it's not modern economics.
"Why?" Because once you understand the value of your time and how best to use it, you "won't produce that which you are not the lowest cost at producing."
Buckner elaborated, kind of: If Joshua is the most efficient pie-maker, and Jennifer can make cheaper cakes, then they should each play to their strengths to maximize output and minimize cost.
For example, "why am I here?" he asked. "Truthfully, I'm the cheapest."
As one commenter at TPM pointed out, this guy is basically promoting Mercantilism, a discredited economic system that predates Adam Smith and modern economic theories, which basically says that you should only produce what you produce best. And again...no. That's definitely not the best way to produce wealth.
Profits, Not Costs
Rather, our modern economics is based upon the idea of profits, and that you should sell products that will earn you the most money. It doesn't matter if Joshua is the most efficient pie maker, if he can sell his cakes for twice as much profit. If he makes a pie for a dollar and can sell it for five dollars but make a cake for two dollars and sell it for ten dollars, he should make cakes. After all, eight dollars is more than four dollars; even at Glenn Beck University.
It's all about how much you can sell your product or service for; not how much it cost to make it. Costs don't even factor into how much you should charge for a product or service. It's all about how much someone's willing to pay for it. I mean, I can produce blogposts for free, but because I don't get paid for them, it's not a particularly good use of my time; financially speaking.
And of course, the ultimate lesson here is this dude's own worth. As he said himself, he's doing this because he's the cheapest, and had Beck wanted to pay a real economist, he would have had to pay a lot more. But Beck realizes that his rubes will buy whatever he has to sell and if they're dumb enough to shell out money to Beck University, they're too dumb to realize what a crappy lesson they're getting.
So the great deal Beck's getting isn't because this guy is so cheap, but because Beck's rubes are so dumb that they put real value to his valueless lessons by paying for it. It was Beck's name that added economic value to this endeavor. The "professor's" cheap lesson merely increased the profit margin. But that was because there was no point in paying more for a lesson that wouldn't be learned anyway.