Free Riders (or How to Get Rid of the Deficit)

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Published in

I've had a lot of time lately to do some recreation reading so I've been trying to bone up on Game Theory. You know, "the study of the ways in which strategic interactions among rational players produce outcomes with respect to the preferences (or utilities) of those players, none of which might have been intended by any of them". Just some light reading to keep me busy, nothing big. Anyways, I came upon the interesting concept of the Free Rider Problem. As Chris Firth put it:
Ernst Fehr has studied more complex economic games – called Common Good Games – in which many people play together. If everyone cooperates by putting their own money into the system, then everyone gains. But there are always a few people who behave unfairly. These are the free riders, players who realize that they can benefit from the fair behavior of other people without needing to donate any of their own money. Once free riders appear in the group, people gradually stop cooperating. Even the most generous player doesn’t see why she should go on supporting someone who is putting nothing into the system. As a result the group finishes up with less money than they could have gained with full cooperation. (emphasis mine)

This all sounded very familiar to me. Then it hit me! The Teabaggers are the Free Riders in our society. They are people that want to reap the benefits of living in a collective society without having to put in their share of contributions. They want to evade paying taxes while enjoying public roads, parks, police, firefighters, clean water, etc. But wait! There is a solution to the Free Rider Problem.
This is where altruistic punishment comes in. Ernst Fehr and Simon G├Ąchter allowed players to punish the free riders. This was altruistic punishment since it cost $1 to punish another player, but that other player lost $3. When this punishment of the free riders is possible, then cooperation in the group steadily increases and everyone gains.
So there you have it. All we have to do is convince the government to sell permits to legally bop Teabaggers over the head with foam weapons. People would line up around the block for an opportunity like that. And just think, if we sell enough of them we can finally get rid of that nasty multi-trillion dollar deficit hanging over our heads. It's just crazy enough to work!


  1. godlessblogger said...

    Lmao. I'd pay good money for that permit.

    January 8, 2010 at 10:34 PM

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