This old house testifies to the wonder of the market economy

There are some television programs that marvel at the modern innovative market as well as the long running PBS shows, This is the old house. Expressing market surprise, of course, is not the purpose of the show’s producers, cast or crew. But as Adam Smith will observe, they are driven by an invisible hand to promote a result that is not part of their purpose. So happy.

Each season time This is the old houseNow hosted by Kevin O’Connor, a handful of skilled carpenters, masons, plumbers, painters, electricians and landscapers refine some old homes into new, glittering ones. During several episodes, skilled craftsmen showcase to the audience the latest techniques and products for home repair and improvement. The audience also witnessed the application of the special knowledge that each worker brings to his work.

The importance of this special knowledge is very clear. One of the stars of today’s show is Tom Silva, co-owner of a general-contracting company that builds and rebuilds homes. Mr. Silver’s knowledge of the various materials available for use in home construction is quite impressive. This knowledge is topped only by Mr. Silver’s skill in using these materials and by his ability to use various tools that work best to make these materials like repaired walls, strong ceilings and completely new rooms.

Richard Trathway, a specialist in plumbing, heating and cooling systems, has no less specialized and valuable knowledge and has been used by landscaping expert Jane Nawada, electrician Heath Eastman and painter Mauro Henrik.

Together, these craftsmen, and a few others who support their work sites, coordinate their efforts to bring spectacular finishing results.

Time to watch This is the old house I have been impressed by the essentials of modern life with all this special knowledge throughout each episode. I’m sure almost everyone is reading these words, like me, to connect wiring to a house for electricity, to arrange a new piping to create a bathroom where none existed before, or to turn an old kitchen into a living room and an old one. Unable to. Garage in a modern kitchen. And yet we all live in a house wired for electricity and equipped with indoor plumbing and a modern kitchen and living room.

We each, every day, benefit from the highly specialized knowledge gained and used by many strangers who build our homes and fit them with these benefits. And we all enjoy these benefits despite being unable to personally produce them. One of the greatest wonders of modernity is the fact that the efforts of countless specialized producers, every hour of the day – and today from all over the world – are called upon and then combined to form a steady stream of goods and services No.

Innovation is widespread

Also a lot has been cleaned up by each episode This is the old house The rapid pace of innovation. Lots of improvements in plumbing fixtures and equipment choices. For example, a kitchen faucet that was luxurious ten years ago is obsolete today, surpassing not only new designs but also clever features, such as enabling users to start and stop the flow of water without touching anything. There are also amazing showerheads, lightweight but strong bathtubs made of resin and limestone, smart doorbells and new alarm systems.

Yet perhaps more impressive is the incredible new building materials. Examples include fine bricks for fireplaces and chimneys that create a pleasing aesthetic of full brick but without the need for heavy foundation support; Rain gutters made of extruded aluminum; And a rich assortment of advanced materials for decking.

Also many tools used by carpenters and other craftsmen attract attention. Rarely, for example, does any carpenter work This is the old house Run an old style manual hammer. The pneumatic hammer is a tool of choice, allowing carpenters to drive nails for a fraction of the time required to manually. Construction time and cost are thus driven less than otherwise.

Adam Smith noted that the higher the degree of specialization, the greater the motivation to create tools to help employees. Equipment to increase the productivity of each employee; Every worker not only works fast but also works in a way that results in less mistakes. This increases productivity – enabling tasks that once required a large number of workers to be performed by fewer workers – leaving workers to profitably specialize in a business that would otherwise be too expensive to practice. Efficiency is enhanced, which in turn further enhances the quality and reduces the cost of the final product.

It is impossible to put into words the amount of specialized knowledge, as well as the wonder of modern building materials and tools, which are regularly and entertainingly displayed in each episode. This is the old house. If you are not already a regular visitor to this program, I urge you to give it a try Like most visitors, you get great ideas for how to improve your own home More importantly, though, you will see the necessity of specialization, the value of skilled and serious craftsmen, and the many fruits of market-driven innovation.

Donald J. Boudrox

Donald J.  Boudrox

Donald J. Boudroux is a Senior Fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research and with an Advanced Study of the FA Hayek Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at George Mason University’s Mercatas Center; A Mercatus Center board member; And Professor of Economics and former chair of the Department of Economics at George Mason University. He is the author of books The Essential Hayek, Globalization, Hypocritical and half-wittedAnd his articles appear in such publications The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, U.S. News & World Report As well as numerous scholarly journals. He wrote a blog called Cafe Hayek and a regular column on economics Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Boudreaux holds a PhD in economics from the University of Auburn and a law degree from the University of Virginia.

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