Never a dull moment when we have lunch together. One of my colleagues raises an interesting question (albeit a utilitarian one): is it in “society’s interest” to have drivers of oncoming traffic “flash their lights” at you when you are approaching a state trooper staking out a speed trap? After all, “we” are expending resources to have the trooper keep people from speeding, and by warning people about it, the trooper seems to be wasting his time!
My comment to him was to ask if he ever gives the time to someone at an airport? He quickly answered, “yes.” And he does this for the same reason that many of us do, because we hope to have the favor returned. But that is not a good enough reason to warn your fellow travelers about a speed trap he says. In the case of giving the time, the transaction seems to be positive sum, wealth creating. But in the case of the speed trap, the transaction seems to merely be a transfer of wealth from “society” to the formerly speeding individual.
What do we think? I would note that he does not take advantage of coupons when he shops.