When I decided I would study economics 9 years ago, what I liked about this science was that “the fundamental laws of economic science, in fact, were the laws of life”. The term “economic imperialism” that we did in class has made me think a lot since that week’s assignment! I believe we can talk about “economic imperialism” when we apply economics’ scientific methodology into other fields; yet when it comes to the reasoning and not the equations or models, I would not distinguish economics from everyday life. The way we function in our relationships and in our non-economic decision making is the same one as in our economic thinking: seeing the pros and cons, gains and losses and picking the one that would make us feel best. Not in a way that other people would describe as rational, but in a way that always seems rational to us, where “prices” would be replaced by “value” (how we value things and situations) – always a subjective definition of course!
Yet I do strongly believe that there are certain aspects of life that economics should really be out of! Still, we might enjoy some posts like this one 🙂 ( http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2005/05/why_dont_people.html )
Why don’t people have more sex?
We need not just reasons, but rather gains-from-trade-defying reasons. I can think of a few:
1. The long-run lifestyle costs of being “more open to sex” involve a loss of integrity and control. (OK, but I know many married couples, not all of whom hate each other, who don’t seem to have much sex.)
2. The average utility of sex is high but the marginal utilities are falling off a cliff. You just don’t want any more. But how many people are at this margin?
3. Freud was right and we are all repressed. The will is not unitary and the utility-maximizing part is not always in control.
4. There has been a market failure, but the Internet is remedying it. People are having more sex and this will only go up.
5. Sex stops being fun when you do it to close a gap between your marginal utilities. It requires spontaneity or some other quality inconsistent with the classical model of the consumer and the equation of marginal rates of substitution.
6. Sex isn’t as much fun as the studies indicate. Perhaps people lie about their quality of their sex or remember only the better experiences.
7. People want their sex to consist of peaks, rather than seeking to maximize lifetime utility. Tom Schelling once told me this is why he did not listen to Bach more.
8. The market-clearing price for more sex is positive, and people feel shame about paying too explicitly; see also #5.
10. People are having sex in other ways. Maybe that is really good too.
11. Everyone else is having sex all the time — Michael Vassar simply doesn’t know about it.
12. You’re all addicted to reading blogs.
My wife’s question: “Should you be flattered or insulted that you are considered an expert on this?”
Although I find that prostitution is a very very sensitive subject, I’ll publish this link not because I agree with what the writers say in the article but because I find interesting the economic approach: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Story?id=1919192&page=2
Is sex a female resource and could sexual interaction be viewed as a marketplace? This article really made me want to shout “Come on people! Leave some things alone! Don’t kill the magic! Don’t rationalize and economize everything!”. Yet I still find it more interesting to read about this than, let’s say, finance 🙂 so here goes: http://www.csom.umn.edu/Assets/71503.pdf
In this article sex is considered the good, and the probability of getting a sexually transmitted disease is its price. Interesting what it might say about people’s sexual preferences! http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/magazine/11wwln_freak.html?pagewanted=all
and the last one for today: when it comes to risk taking can hormonomics explain why men are from Mars and women from Venus? Or are we all from planet Earth in the end? http://www.hhs.se/BusinessAndSociety/press/pressreleases/Pages/economicbehavior.aspx
Man, interesting topics people find for research sometimes! So much for late-night posting.. hope you found something interesting at least. 🙂