* Amish economics

The Amish: Economics

Figure 1.-- Despite their plain lifestyle and rejection of many but not all modern amemities, the Amish have no problems with modern marketing of their products. In fact they are dependent on it. This is a scene at a Missouri market in 2011.

The Amish are a fascinating study in economics and one that can only exist in a stable, capotalist free market ecomomy. They have decided for religious reasons to lead a life apart from modern industrial society and pursue an agragrian lifestyle. What is not often mentioned by the Amish is that this only works because they live in the midst of a prosperous industrial society. It is all too obvious that many other societies around the world live in agrarian societies and as a result, abject poverty. Now the Amish do not live in abject poverty, although in money terns they often fall below the monetary povery line. They do this by accepting many free sevices provided by the state: piblic health, medical care, public security, national defense, agricultural resaerch, economic freedom, secure property rights, legal protections, and reliable money-at least until recently. And they hace access to the fruits of capitalist society from which they can pick and choose. They pay little in taxes for all these these services as their money income is limited. And they have access to a lucrative market for their produce. This is why the mennoites and Amishg have been successful in America and Canada. Efforts in other countries have ben generally less successful. A community in Mexico has recently collapsed because if the weakness of the rule of law in Mexican society. Another interesting aspect of Amish society is the absence of unemployment. In fact they have a labor shortage. Thus is because the avoidence of electricity and motorized vechicles means a lot more labor has to be spent in daily activities like plowing, garvesting, laundety and much more. Few Americans would accept this added labor burden or the resort to child labor that the Amish have taken. [McLaughlin]


McLaughlin, Dan. "Economic lessons from the Amish," Mises Faily Articles (June 21, 2007).


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Created: 6:17 AM 7/3/2004
Last updated: 10:06 PM 5/24/2020