Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008
If I were to run for President one of my planks would be a ban on flip-flops except for beaches and public showers. In my eyes, the flip-flop is not aesthetically pleasing and seems to encourage poor walking habits.
Researchers at Auburn University may have vindicated my predisposition against the flip-flop.
As a purely theoretical discussion, I consider flip-flops a market failure in the sense that everyone seems to want to wear them and that imposes a negative externality on me. As my utility is most important to me, I would love the negative externality to be removed.
Now, I could conceivably transact with all flip-flop wearers to internalize the negative externality, but the transaction costs would be prohibitive. Thus, like any other market failure, in theory there is an appropriate tax on flip-flop wearing that would increase the cost so that no one would wear flip-flops except on the beach or in a public shower.
On the other hand, if the medical establishment can show that wearing flip-flops is not healthy, then, as in the case of cigarettes, perhaps people will realize that the cost of wearing flip-flops is higher than they originally thought and thus fewer people will wear flip flops.
I am definitely not a nanny-state fan, and once again we find a need for a sarcasm tag in HTML so that people know when I am using my "you know I'm kidding" tone of voice.
I think I'm going to save that to use as a witty retort against frivolous claims of externalities that require government action.Post a Comment
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