Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Free-riding - Nordhouse

Free-riding, Nordhouse 

 Sea gulls are free-riders.

sea gulls are free-riders

Reality check, in a group project, some always sit and watch while others do the work. That is called “free-riding.” And the problem is that given enough “free-riders” everyone quits working. No one and nothing works. So says Yale economist William D. Nordhaus, truth-sayer of climate change economics. But the truth of the matter is that it goes beyond climate change. A few of his examples are jumping the turnstiles on the subway, leaving dirty dishes in the sink for others to wash, not pitching in for pizza, but why not throw in picking up the trash in city parks, public welfare, and paying taxes. 

It seems that we can’t agree on free-riding and climate change, but that is part of the theory, we can’t make up our minds as a group. 

And what does it matter? As another economist, John Maynard Keynes, said, “In the long run we are all dead,” whether from waiting for humanity to accept that 7 billion human beings can change the climate for the good as well as the bad,  a failed nation-state, or simply old age.

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