6/24/2019

The Un-Burkean Economic Policy of Edmund Burke

"The issue at the time was one of a supply shortage arising primarily from bad harvests and perhaps to some extent from the war against France which particularly adversely affected agricultural workers. The question was how provisions were to be increased. Redistribution from the rich to the poor is one possibility, but Burke dismissed this with the argument that such a redistribution would hardly improve the lot of the poor. There simply wasn’t enough to go around. But he also addressed three additional, though overlapping, concerns that imply a redistribution: (1) the price of labour which was set in the market; (2) government intervention in the labour market which was as futile as it was unnecessary; and (3) the necessary harmony of interests between contracting parties."