“Creating Jobs”

A lot of numbers have been thrown out about how many jobs will be created or destroyed if the proposed merger between Sprint and T-Mobile goes through. Here are a few examples I found on the New T-Mobile website:

When dealing with complex systems full of feedback loops, nothing happens in isolation. This fact is often overlooked. I’ll occasionally see an article where a nutrition journalist explains that there are 3,500 calories in a pound. Using some simple math, they’ll explain that since a bag of chips has 200 calories, falling into the temptation to eat a bag of chips every day will lead a person to gain about ten pounds over six months. This is of course silly. By the same logic, eating a bag of chips each day could lead a person to gain 800 pounds over 40 years.

People can’t eat a bag of chips without affecting anything else about their body or their behavior. The body is a complex system. There are lots of feedback loops that regulate things like hunger and energy expenditure.

The economy works in a similar manner. Jobs cannot be created out of thin air. Jobs can’t be eliminated in isolation. If the New T-Mobile hires 10,000 people, it’s not reducing the number of unemployed people by 10,000. The emphasis on job creation is especially strange right now. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently lower than it’s been at any other point in my life.