"That may seem like a ridiculous hypothetical scenario. But economists can measure and have measured some of these effects: when frosts hit Brazil, world coffee prices do indeed rise, Kenyan farmers do buy aluminum roofing, the price of roofing does rise, and the farmers do, in fact, time their investment so that they don't pay too much."
Now don't get me wrong the book is great, but the reason I picked this particular area is because it really sums it all up. The quoted section and the parts of the book immediately preceding and following it are really what makes all of what we do, study and comment on possible.
It's suggests to us that the choices we make have an effect whether it be profound or minuscule but an effect none the less, and furthermore it's an effect that causes another and another and so on. It gives us a real world example, measurable and something that sounds like it's from an economist's paper on 'The Butterfly Effect' - (not the movie but the concept). This makes me think of voting, 1 vote matters a little bit and when everyone matters a little bit big things happen.
I solidified this for my first highlight as I was reading Russ' highlight on money buying happiness. I believe that the extra dollar that we spend on the White Chocolate Mocha Latte (my personal favorite) does make a difference (just not immediately to the farmers as we had hoped). Even if it goes 99% into the pocket of the Starbucks 'big-wig's, they spend money too and the decisions they make with the 99 cents they realize from my purchase then trickles through-out the system until it affects the farmer's and me and you and the whole of our global economic system.
It may seem like so many things in Harford's book as 'duh' moments like.. you read them and you say to yourself, well 'duh' I should have known that. However for me it really encompasses the entirety of economics as the study of choice. Cause and effect on it's grandest and most drawn out scale. And as I read through the rest of the book Harford continues to unfold this economic Karma if you will.
Anyhow that's my 2 cents, I'm interested in what other's think about this idea. I invite you to post!!