Sunday, December 2, 2012

Are Bargains Coercive?

So, I got this in a fortune cookie, having dinner with Geoff Sayre-McCord and some folks from UNC Philosophy.



Leading us to discuss this question:  are bargains coercive?  Do people actually buy things they don't want or need because it's a "good deal?"  I have heard people say things like, "Sure, I didn't have the money, but I at THAT price I couldn't afford NOT to buy it!"  Um...what?

UPDATE:  Senor Zorro notes that there is some documentation.  Here is a video of people fighting for phones at WalMart...


There are analogous actions in nature...




2 comments:

  1. Yes, they apparently are. Just have look at Black Friday.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O6IMYSSs7c

    It is also a prove for Evolution.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKONFTC821I

    Señor Zorro

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  2. I have no desire to go to attend a dinner with the characters on Jersey Shore, but if someone offered me the opportunity for $1 dollar I might feel compelled to take it if I were acting rationally because I could conceive of some future in which I might change my mind and want to attend such a dinner. Now "compelled" in this context obviously is used in a specialized sense, meaning something like, it is such a good deal that I should take it under any circumstances because it might someday be of value to me. Similarly, if I could buy the stock in every start up company for a penny, I would feel compelled to do so not because I thought such a company would succeed but because in the long run and on average I would be better off because some small number of these companies would succeed. I think the two cases are analogous and capture something about our thinking in these sorts of cases.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?