Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Efficiency vs A larger outlook

In Landsburg's argument against taxes he talks about the logic of efficiency. His outlook seems a little short sighted to me. In his example about prodrillers and anti drillers he only takes into account the present situation. He does not talk about costs that may have to be dealt with in the long run, only the ones in the present. For example, (since he took Exxon as an example) there may be an oil spill and that could increase the costs on both sides by millions of dollars.
A better example of how Mr Landsburg refuses to see beyond the obvious is his example of flight tickets. He talks about how he would not spend $1000 dollars more for a ticket than it is worth to him. What is this worth eh talks about? If he is travelling for business, is it not worth $1000 if you go to talk to publishers and you sign a book deal. (Landsburg certainly did well in terms of book sales and reviews.) Or if you are travelling to go on vacation is all the rest, sunshine, relaxation, rejuvenation not worth $1000, especially if you earn around $100,000 (Landburg im sure makes a lot more), and you spend 1% of your income on a flight for your holiday! Bottomline- I dont think Landsburg knows understands the worth of most things, and sometimes fails to understand that efficiency may not always be the solution for everything.
For example- using high fructose corn syrup has been very effiecient for the food industry, it helps them lower costs of drinks. Which seems really nice, because if a coke if worth 50 cents to a person, they end up spending 40 cents and saving 10 cents. But, in the long run this efficiency does no good for the larger population and leads to obesity, heart disease, and higher mdeical bills. Therefore, I do not agree with the author- efficiency is not the best route for all problems, and other less efficient factors in most cases produce long term beneficial results.

1 comment:

  1. Sitara, It's like you read my mind, edited what you read, rewrote it to make sense and posted it to the blog. Keep up the good work. (On a side note, can you explain to me what went on at that Schweinfurthen presentation?)