Manna from China

If cheap goods from China are bad for the United States then surely zero-priced Manna from Heaven must have been terrible for the Israelites. Cecil Bohanon and T. Norman Van Cott, two of my former colleagues at Ball State University, know better.

Manna wasn’t a “sky is falling” catastrophe for the Israelites. Quite the contrary, wealth was being showered on them. Lower-cost production alternatives always expand consumption alternatives. Regardless of whether these alternatives trace to manna-like acts of God, new production technologies, foreigners willing to sell their products to us at less-than-prevailing prices, or even immigrants willing to work at less-than-prevailing wages, the result is the same. Consumption alternatives for the natives expand…..

Fortunately for the Israelites, Moses didn’t order them to shun manna in order to preserve good jobs in food production. Manna meant those good jobs weren’t so good after all. Indeed, manna meant that jobs connected with finding water and protecting sheep became the better jobs. The result was that the Israelites reached the Promised Land a stronger nation.


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