The annoying microeconomics of giving and receiving.

December 22nd, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Why I wish you an inefficient X-mas, over at PostEverything.

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3 comments in reply to "The annoying microeconomics of giving and receiving."

  1. Larry Signor says:

    I still have to go with the Pareto efficiency argument. My children, my wife and my friends need valuable help year round (due to future discounting, we are many times ill-prepared to deal with the demands of immediacy). There is also a finite resources reality. If I give one of them a $500.00 laptop, will I still be able to give them the rent , insurance or car payment money when they need it? My wife and I have a Holiday model that allows her to give inexpensive and thoughtful gifts at the Holidays, while I am a curmudgeon about the Holidays, but able to keep the lights on for them when they really need it. (Plus I hate to shop.)

  2. PeonInChief says:

    What I hate most about Christmas giving is not the gifts for family and close friends, but the “throwaway” gifts from acquaintances and co-workers. That whole part of gift-giving should be abolished forever, as it supports the junk market. And that includes the raffle or “grab-bag” thing–I’ve never gotten anything from those that entered my house. They went directly to Goodwill. From relatives I’ve gotten good gifts and bad ones, including one that was a regift, and is something I’ve loved for almost 30 years. I have another relative with whom I don’t get along well, but who gets me the best jewelry–not expensive, but perfect.

    But I do think that your position is a class thing–for many people I know they’d rather have the cash to pay off the winter gas bill or have a really good dinner. And I hate the idea that someone is stretching to buy me a $20 gift that I neither need nor want, when the money could be better spent on something for herself and her children.

  3. Dave says:

    Today I received a book as a gift. I already owned a copy of this book. However, I never read it. It sat on my shelf for years, but I bought it because it was a biography of someone I admire very much. Will ever read this book? No.

    I will read the book I received as a gift today. I will read it because somebody that loves me thinks I should read it, and thinks so strongly enough to have taken a chance of being wrong in giving it to me.

    They are not wrong, they are right. Why didn’t I read my original copy, and why am I so certain I will read this copy? I’m a bad economist’s nightmare, apparently.