Tag Archives: casual economics

Not a Community-Spirited Story

I believe I’m right in saying (and I’m not an economist, so take this with a pinch of salt) that posts by the side of the street like this one are a public good: however much you ‘use’ such a post – walking safely by the light cast from it or holding a telephone conversation over the wires mounted on top – your actions don’t somehow use the post up, and you can’t exclude particular people from its benefits. (Compare Taiga’s cookies. It’s easy to control access to them. Furthermore, eating one reduces the total number available and prevents anyone else from eating that particular cookie.)

It’s rather mean to damage such a post. Ostensibly a victimless crime, it nevertheless creates hassle for some minor local government employee and perhaps uses up some small shred of government money. Not that this is a concern to the tiger or the dragon, as I’m guessing they don’t personally pay any taxes.