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Thursday, June 29 2017

Salad Bars, Freeriders, and A-holes


Tonight, we went to Sweet Tomatoes, a salad bar restaurant.  With our dinner, we ordered three sodas, and were given three clear, transparent cups.  If, instead, we'd stuck with ater, we'd have been given transparent blue cups.  Several people were filling up their transparent, BLUE cups with soda.

Now, you can assess these "freeriders" two different ways:

  1. They're a-holes.  They knowingly ripped off the restaurant, which will ultimately result in higher costs for everyone.  They expect the rest of us to kick in so that they can get what they want.
  2. They're just smart, playing the game strategically.  After all, they might get free soda.  And if they get caught, all that happens is that they have to pay the fair price.  There's no additional penalty.

So, what can the rest of us do to discourage "freeriding"?  All we can do is refuse to go to the restaurant, subsidizing the a-holes' "free" soda.  So that, eventually, the only people that go to the restaurant are a-holes, who steal soda.  Right up until the restaurant goes out of business, because (surprisingly) there aren't enough a-holes in the world.

Now, consider this an allegory.  Ted Cruz and the rest of his pseudo-GOP buddies are the soda stealers.  Are they smart, because they can find loopholes to push their own pet cuases?  Or are they a-holes, because they hold the rest of the country hostage so they can get what they want?

Salad Bars, Freeriders, and A-holes | 2 comments | Create New Account
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Salad Bars
Authored by: David Small onMonday, October 21 2013

The issue is that a minority of people have no disincentive to cheat, in a way that benefits only them. What can we (the rest of us, who follow the rules) do about it? And the answer is --- not much. Jerks are going to be jerks. And while they pat themselves on the back for stealing soda, or boarding the plane early, or cheating on their taxes [or spouse, or in a sport, or ...], or opposing the legislative process outlined in our country's Constitution,...while they pat themselves on the back for pursuing their own self interest at the expense of others, I think it's worth pointing out, loudly, that they're jerks.

[Note: I also think there is a solution to the freerider problem. If the penalty for getting caught cheating were more severe---you have to pay for 10 sodas, you have to board the plane last, you pay a significant penalty on your taxes, you forfeit the game, you are reprimanded and eventually lose your job as senator---you would maybe see less cheating.]

Salad Bars
Authored by: Anonymous onThursday, October 24 2013

It took me a long time to realize that the GOP shutdown wasn't about the Affordable Care Act, and it wasn't about spending.

It was entirely about forecasted economic growth.  If the economy (and investor sentiment) improved, as predicted, it would be harder to elect a Republican in 2016.

You read that right...the Republicans sabotaged the economy, on purpose, for their own electoral benefit.,0,2449093.story#axzz2ig0YDA7G