January 20, 2008

Churches, kidnapping, sinful markets

Sin for sell! Sin for sell. I have heard a lot of discussion (especially in this Colorado Springs we call a city) about the immorality of selling sin. Personally, I always felt that sin was a necessary evil (pun, fully intended) in the world and if somehow the government could tax sin, then the perhaps the basic necessities could be provided for every man, woman and child!

Economically speaking, if the question of equality (as referenced in Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist regarding the juggle between efficiency and fairness) is merely a transfer of money and wealth from the rich to the poor, then chapter 8 is a highlight that I’ll like to keep in mind when entering into markets and considering transactions!

The idea that such kidnappings can be insured against, and thus a secondary market springs up, is something of interest. If a government were to be involved and offer a form of insurance, people might consider it corrupt. But, if an insurance company offers kidnapping insurance, it’s seen a necessary evil, but in the form of a safeguard. Coincidentally, kidnappers actually seem to prefer kidnapping (working with) people who are insured because of the higher rate of successful transactions! So, does having kidnapping insurance protect you from harmful circumstances, or do they actually increase the possibility of encountering harmful circumstances?

The same question can be pondered regarding all sorts of ‘sinful’ markets. Perhaps this is where politicians can be considered useful! Some such markets can be squelched by police forces which are built by elected officials. In this manner, the idea of there being a balanced amount (an efficient allocation) of crime is skewed towards there being, perhaps, too much crime-busting.

Perhaps another way government works to diminish sinful markets is to encourage anti-sin establishments. Churches aren’t taxed, and they are a means to devaluing sin. Perhaps when the market of churches becomes more flooded, the competition between churches gets more rigid and then competition (game-theory principles are) is applied and thus religions attempting to eradicate other religions. But, I guess that depends on who you ask and what religion is their preference!

Economics is more prevalent than we realize! Sin for sell! Sin for sell.

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