Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Handicapped parking vs personal convenience!

Good morning economists and may you all have a lovely year! Our topic today will focus on what we call in economics the social welfare function. In very simple terms, a social welfare function is the total utility or satisfaction of all the people in a society. In a sense, if we add the quantifiable satisfaction that each individual feels in an society we should be able to come up with this social welfare function. It is understandable that the goal of the society is to maximize the satisfaction of all people in society so that the social welfare function produces the highest possible utility level.

Having defined this, I would like to share with you an event we witnessed a couple of days ago while we were doing our last minute New Year's eve shopping. We visited a large toy retailer and I was shocked to see the following:
The parking spots marked with blue are meant for people of various disabilities! The cars above were casually parked (sometimes even parked along two parking spots) yet NONE was carrying a handicapped parking permit. I was disgusted with this behavior and I immediately wondered...

If our goal as society should be to maximize our social satisfaction, who gets the most utility or satisfaction from parking in a handicapped parking spot? A person with disabilities who needs basic access to the building or a healthy person who is just too lazy to walk for fifty meters?

Personal gain vs basic social behavior. Where is the police when you need them?

Have a nice day!


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