Tuesday, September 26, 2006

staying abreast of the market

zDog posted a few days ago about the Finnish guy who paid 32,000 bucks for fondling a woman's breasts 10 times. Of course, I have something to say about this.

First, a simple calculation. If we assume, for the sake of underestimation, that he fondled both breasts seven of those ten times, but that the other three times he was too much of an idiot to make full use of his purchase, and only fondled one breast at a time, it works out to:

(32,000 / 10 ) / (7 * 2 + 3) ~ 188 dollars per breast per fondle.

Now, as every economist is taught, you can put a price on most things. However, certain goods are notoriously difficult to quantify. Yet, micro models are constructed that determine the cost of clean air, and actuaries work long hours to put a value on human life. The way prices work in unquantifiable markets has less to do with competition and more to do with the general public's "willingness to pay" for such a good.

This means two things:

1. If he agreed to pay, as he says he did, then the price is not too high. Clearly, this is not a regulated market. A monopoly by definition can set whatever price it wants. Since an unregulated market operates outside the law anyway, it is not subject to anti-trust laws, and thus the consumer is not protected from a monopoly entity. (Which is why a hooker or a drug dealer or a craigslister can rip you off without you being able to do shit about it). So the court basically has no business in this matter, unless it charges her with something akin to prostitution.

2. The court's verdict as far as determining the appropriateness of the price was completely arbirtrary. What amount, for example, would they have considered appropriate? 10 dollars? 175? Is there a threshold at which this is an acceptable transaction? What about other factors, e.g. how hot the woman is? On what basis did they make the deduction?

We here at billu.net believe that a referendum of some sort would have been a far fairer and more democratic method of determining the average person's willingness to pay for a breast fondle. And so, we ask you once again, dear readers, to tell us what you think, in this, our second weekly poll:

(Note: all prices below are in US dollars. For conversion to other currencies, please click here.)

How much is a breast fondle worth?

No comments: