Sometime the Laws of Economics are not a feature — sometimes they’re a bug

There are many behaviors that actually benefit no one, but there are nonetheless incentives for people to engage in them.

For example: When I was a teenager, many kids would drive around in cars with “no particular place to go”. I don’t know how prevalent this behavior is today across the planet, but it really does no one any good, and it harms the environment.

Of course there is some “entertainment” aspect of it — as Holly Cole captures it: “the world seems to come and go…”

An economy that builds cars and allows people to pump gasoline for pennies, makes way for people to harm the environment without needing to think much about what they are actually doing. People who produce cars, and also people who deliver gasoline to the pumps profit from promoting this behavior.

Likewise, “supersized” food producers profit from promoting obesity. The tobacco industry profits from promoting lung cancer. The advertising and marketing industries profit by motivating people to engage in harmful behavior that hurts both people and the environment.

If someone argues that these industries provide jobs, then I want to know: where have all the whippers gone?

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