Wednesday, January 27, 2021

It's Finally Back

 After some projects that required a considerable amount of my time, I am finally free to get back to my podcast/YouTube broadcast "This Week in Economics with Robert Wenzel."

The first returning episode will be up on Sunday at 7:00 AM ET.

There is going to be a question and answer section in the broadcast, so please leave in the comments section any questions you have. Also, leave how you want to be identified, a nom de internet is fine, and where in the world you are located.

If you don't want to leave a comment below, you can also email me at with your questions.



  1. I want to understand how technological advancements increase wages. For instance, Henry Ford's assembly-line process is always touted as having driven up wages. I get it that because Ford himself produced cars so much more efficiently than otherwise, he was making more, and had more profits to distribute---which he voluntarily did to his workers in the form of higher wages. But how is it inevitable, that such technological advancements drive up wages overall, for everybody (at least in that industry)---? Is it merely because producers need to compete with other producers for labor, and now they have the means of paying higher wages, in order to attract the best laborers?

    1. I always think about the poor barber. His technology hasn't changed much in decades, yet barbers keep raising prices and making enough to get by. What else could make this possible but the siphoning off of barbers into other fields if their incomes didn't keep up? An example of how increasing productivity helps even those not working in industries not affected.

    2. Henry Ford raised wages because of turn over. He wanted to prevent it because of the costs of replacing employees and training them. Never mind the line slowing down when it was short people with necessary skills.

      As positions become more productive they also require knowledge and skills that are less and less common. It is far easier to offer someone who can hit the ground running more money than it is to find someone who can learn and grow into the position. Even when that person is found it takes time to get there.

      So with the capital equipment an employee produces more per unit time by the skills and knowledge of that employee are greater. This allows the employee to be paid more and he must be paid more otherwise another company will seek to avoid the expense of searching and training and simply hire someone away from a competitor.

      As to one of the other replies: Barbers in many states became licensed and thus a protected business. Thus their prices are more driven by how many people are willing to go through the licensing hoops, rent, taxes, etc than they are on the productivity of barbering itself.

    3. I'm in Leonard, MI (Detroit metro area), RW.
      I'll check-out the youtube podcast as well.

    4. Thanks Jimmy Joe Meeker.
      So, technological advancement fosters specialization and greater division of labor. And specialists can command higher compensation I guess. E.g., the invention of the chainsaw in the lumber industry...fewer people can wield and operate a chainsaw than can swing an axe, and so they can command a higher wage. And chainsaws are vastly more efficient than axes, and so lumberjack employers can produce more lumber per unit of manpower than previously, bringing down the cost of producing lumber, and reducing the price of lumber...and allowing higher wages to be paid for the contributions of those chainsaw-wielding "specialists." I think.

  2. Replies
    1. On all podcast platforms and YouTube.

    2. What is the podcast RSS feed? I can’t find it on apple podcasts


      It should appear at Apple however.

    4. I cannot find it on Apple Podcast. I’ve searched for “this week in economics”, “economic policy journal”, “Robert Wenzel”.
      Manually using the RSS feed works though.

  3. Scott O,
    You are conflating “raising prices” with real wages.

    I don’t know if barbers’ real wages have gone up in the last 50 years or not.

    However, it is an absolute fact that their real wages could have gone down even as they raised their prices. This is a monetary phenomenon.

    Of course, licensing could play a role by restricting supply, but then there must either be more people cutting their own hair, black market hair cuts, or less frequent haircuts. There is not a lot of substitution that can go on here.

  4. Here's a question I'd like your take on:

    What is your opinion on Adam Smith, and do you think Rothbard's criticisms of him as having bad original ideas to the science of economics is valid? Also what your take is with the accusations that Smith was a plagiarist and proto-Marxist.

    Link to Rothbard's essay, The Adam Smith Myth:

    Jake T. from San Antonio, TX.

  5. Questions will obvisously come but I got a suggestion, and you probably already know this but if have interviews with other Austrian-lites that would be awesome. Also, signing up for your EPJ alert in the coming hours. 🙏