The economy isn’t a pie, it’s a garden

by Ryan Streeter on February 26, 2014. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Good words from Keith Hennessey, who astutely points out that we shouldn’t play into the “pie” metaphor while talking about the economy. A pie presupposes a finite amount that can only be divided up into sections. Keith writes:

A flower garden is a better metaphor for looking at economic growth and income distribution. A flower’s growth depends on the individual characteristics of that type of flower and that particular seed. It also depends on common factors shared with other flowers in the same garden (e.g., the local climate, pests, the skill and diligence of the gardener) as well as its particular advantages relative to other flowers (better sunlight, soil, and water in this part of the garden than that part over there).  Although there is some interdependence, the rapid growth of a sunflower at one end of the garden largely does not come at the expense of a struggling tulip at the other end. The sunflower may have advantages the tulip does not, even unfair ones, but the fast-growing sunflower is not “taking growth” from the slow-growing tulip.