With much of Australia suffering catastrophic fires and the beginning of a new war with Iran, lots of people are thinking about the idea that such disasters are good for the economy, because of the work generated in rebuilding homes, producing war materials and so on. In my book Economics in Two Lessons, I explain why this is wrong (this is one point where I agree with Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. Here’s a link to Chapter 6: The opportunity cost of destruction
US President Eisenhower got it right when he said
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
And the same is true for the destruction visited on us by Morrison, Trump, Murdoch and the rest of the global denial industry. The workers who will be needed to rebuild homes, farms and infrastructure could instead be employed producing useful new things. Those forgone alternatives are the opportunity cost of destruction