Re: Externalities

Anton Sherwood (
Tue, 23 Dec 1997 00:53:02 -0800 (PST)

: Anton Sherwood wrote:
: > Eh? Where did Lorrey invoke *external* benefits?

Keith Elis replies:
: When he invoked a benefit not received by the firearm producer.
: There are myriad resource costs in producing a firearm. There
: is one benefit -- the firearm itself. Any remote benefit not
: balanced against costs in the decision to manufacture is external.
: Self-defense falls into this category.

The value of self-defense, surely, is reflected to some extent
in the price of the weapon, just as the value of nutrition and
flavor are reflected in the price of a tangerine.

*All* goods and services sold have this kind of externality
- economists call it consumer excess, I think. The seller
internalizes as much of that excess as it can get, but never
gets all of it, because you can't readily tell a customer who
will get great benefit out of the product from one who'll
benefit only marginally over the cost.

Why single out weapons for scrutiny of these "externalities"?
(Sorry if I've missed some context here, I don't always
read my mail in order)

Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\*