Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What Halloween teaches about free exchange.

Here is a quote from a new article on what Halloween can teach us about free exchange.

I craved Snickers bars and absolutely hated anything with peanut butter. My brother loved peanut butter. So he gave me his Snickers and I gave him my Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. He was happy. I was happy. Luckily our parents didn't interfere too often to make sure the trading was "fair." It was fair as far as we were concerned. Imagine some know-it-all parent pointing out that since candy X costs more than candy Y, to trade them straight up is unfair. Imagine the parent imposing not free trade but fair trade. There would have been a lot of unhappy children on Halloween who were stuck with candy they didn’t want and unable to exchange it. I wouldn't have understood if someone told me Peanut Butter Cups were more valuable than Snickers. To whom? What I knew was that I valued one and not the other, regardless of what a third party might say.

You can read the full article here.