Free Data: Whether from the St Louis Fed, BLS, World Bank, or any number of private sources; there is a wealth of free data out there. This allows people to focus their discussions around what the data tell us instead of questioning its accuracy. Plus it makes for some fun charts.
Free Press: Without it, no one can be critical about our government or the people that work in it. Without free press, even I couldn’t write a lot of my stuff.
Free stuff: This time of year is great for free samples at food stores. Yum. I love being exposed to new things, and having a free snack. But in general I like the idea that value can be created by literally giving away the product. This blog is a perfect example. It’s free to you (that I couldn’t make money charging for it can be ignored). But value is still created thanks to the ads on it. There’s a cost to everything, but it’s great when you aren’t the one absorbing it.
Social safety nets: Though in dire need of reform, these systems help provide a floor to which how bad things can get for you. This actually encourages some level of risk taking that helps the country keep moving. Abused as they may be (and I’m serious about the reform), the idea of the systems is a good thing.
Substitute goods: Coffee is great, but a good cup of hot tea can rival the best beans. My iPhone is wonderful, but Samsung keeps them on their toes. Likewise, my Samsung laptop seeks to provide MacBook like quality for ? the cost.
Low taxes: Our tax system – no. Our tax rates – yes.
Veblen goods: Because something must defy all the logic economics is built upon.
Irrationality: If people always made choices the way economists predicted, then they’d be right. We can’t have that.
You, the reader: Without you… blah blah blah something cheesy. Let’s eat!