Paradise Taxes

Have you ever wondered why food and beverages always cost more at the movie theaters or a concert or a sporting event? One of my fellow teachers here commented on the extremely high price of restaurants in one of Thailand’s Andaman coast islands (it wasn’t Phuket) because the island had no cars or motorcycles. The food was expensive there for the exact same reason. The same is true of the expensive nature of life in Hawaii. Logistics is a peril for people and the main cause of such paradise taxes.

Any time you restrict entry into a place, you increase the prices on that place. Exclusivity drives out competition (often intentionally) and therefore without competition prices are high for everything. One lowers prices by increasing access. It is for this reason that any company or individual that wishes to profit from commodifying something will automatically seek to erect barriers to entry to prevent future competitors from lowering profits in order to get their own share of a market. In the absence of competition, convenience is very expensive.

Often, as I have mentioned, this is done intentionally. Islands are fairly easy places to restrict access. Airports, docks, and bridges are all easy places to assess tolls and to restrict entry. The people who live and vacation on such islands may like a sense of exclusivity, and those who are economically illiterate among them may not realize the prices of such exclusivity when it comes to their own supplies. Paradise always has its price. The more remote or exclusive a place is, the fewer services are in competition, and the more expensive they tend to be, since you don’t have other options. And if you want good prices, you need other options.

So often in this life our desires and wants are at cross-purposes. Seldom is this more often the case than when it comes to our search for paradise or for entertainment. Those places and venues that are in high demand are also more expensive. Those places that are less expensive are also less exclusive and more accessible to others. Most people are not prone in thinking in terms of supply and demand curves, but a great deal of life’s more unpleasant aspects are highly based on such matters, whether it refers to understanding the supply and demand for bookish young men in the dating pool, or the supply and demand of locations for the Feast of Tabernacles.

The reason I bring up the subject at all is that supply and demand affect us in ways that bring daily irritation to us. For example, twice this week my students have had to walk back from the farm because of logistics foulups. There are two trucks but only one truck driver, and there are two (fairly distant) farm locations where farm work is being done, and so it is not often easy for the truck to pick up students from the farm in a timely manner so that they can get to lunch and then afternoon classes at 1PM on time.

Logistics often forces us to focus on a variety of issues at the same time. If we get caught up in our activities and lose track of time we can create major problems for others. Sound logistical management requires a great deal of attention being paid to resources and their use, and if it doesn’t require a huge amount of paperwork, it requires more attention and focus than is often available for people to provide to such mundane matters. And as is so often the case, our desire for control often inhibits our ability to do as much as possible efficiently and effectively. Everything has a price, after all. There are always tradeoffs in life, since we are beings with limited resources and limited focus and energy.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Paradise Taxes

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Servers’ Manifesto | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s