1. The wasteful donut
Ever wonder why donut places offer you one free donut with a purchase of a dozen donuts? What additional satisfaction does the customer get with one extra 13th donut? In my local bakery, a dozen donuts cost me $6.00 and a single donut costs 75 cents. The customer’s value on the donut decreases with every additional donut. The value of one donut may start off at 75 cents, but by the 13th donut, the value reaches around 10 cents (assuming the marginal value decreases linearly by about 5 cents). The only reason they would add the 13th donut is if it was a big enough incentive (a mighty 10 cents of value) for their customers to buy more donuts.
Consider these questions: Would an extra 13th donut make you want to buy a dozen donuts when you otherwise wouldn’t have? Would NOT having an extra 13th donut be a big enough incentive to go somewhere else? Most likely not, and that is why the baker’s dozen is a stupid business invention.
2. Halloween, a night of horrifying economics
Halloween is that time of year when millions of dollars of candy don’t get optimized. A large percentage of the candy kids get is not wanted and thrown away. There should be a “National Halloween Free Trade Market,” that opens up the day following Halloween. This will allow kids everywhere to trade candies they don’t like for those they do like.
3. Boycott sweatshop boycotters
Let’s say the boycotters succeed in dismantling Nike’s infamous sweatshops. Great, now they’ve transformed a sob story into a tragedy as thousands of workers lose their jobs. There is a good reason why those workers choose to work in sweatshops. The horrible working conditions of sweatshops should demonstrate how much worse any other available alternative would be. Prostitution and digging through landfills doesn’t look as rewarding when you can work for a multinational firm that can guarantee a wage at the end of the day. They’re stuck in what may be their best alternative.
4. Marriage needs an expiration date
Marriage is an institution in which interpersonal relationships are recognized by the state or by religious authority, according to Wikipedia. The two people are legally bound by a contract that grants them certain benefits. I propose that we would be better off if this contract expires after 10 years; this would force a married couple to renew their vows in order to restore the marital contract and the benefits it includes.
An expiration date on marriage would greatly reduce the divorce rate (not necessarily the separation rate). If a couple wants to separate, they could wait until their marriage expires to separate instead of having to go through an expensive divorce. This would give couples the incentive to stay together for at least 10 years, which gives chance to fixing the relationship instead of jumping to divorce. Couples might work harder at keeping the relationship strong in fear of having the other spouse refuse to renew their wedding vows. This fear would be greater than the fear of divorce because this time the spouse can break the marriage without the high cost of a messy divorce. Ten years would also be enough time to deter people from getting married solely for the benefits. I believe this institutional change would relax the divorce epidemic and would make the country better off as a whole.
5. Music artists are just making what they deserve
With the introduction of file sharing and other destructive technologies, the record industry has reached its lowest point in history. This obviously pisses off musicians that can no longer make millions off their copyrighted material. Even though file sharing screws over musicians, its benefits to the world are too great for us to want to get rid of it. No longer is good, playable music in scarce supply with new technological frontiers like cheap broadband internet, MP3s, P2P file sharing, bit torrent, social networking websites, and the list goes on. Given this fact, musicians are just receiving the fair value of their services. Fair value is determined by supply and demand, not by what musicians want it to be.
LIOR GOTESMAN has the incentive to make his columns controversial so
you would contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org