03 January 2013

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


Bloomberg has an interesting proposal:

Mayor Blomberg announced today a new program to help reduce obesity and heart disease, ice cream buybacks. Any ice cream that citizens wish to turn in will be bought for up to $5 a pint. No questions asked.  ”Heart disease is the number one killer in the nation,” said Mayor Blomberg, “and we must do everything we can to get Ben and Jerry and these other killers off our streets.”

Now, I’m no expert on the spot prices of ice cream in New York City, but it seems to me that anyone who gets $5 per pint of ice cream will be able to take the money they’ve received and go out and buy more ice cream.  Personally, if I had any ice cream that had gone bad (like melted and then froze over again) I’d be inclined to sell that and then go get some new ice cream.  This system seems ludicrously easy to exploit, and remarkably unproductive to boot.  I hope this status signaling is worth both its inevitable high cost and its probable real-world failure.

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