I am distressed by the sight of poverty; I am benefited by its alleviation; but I am benefited equally whether I or someone else pays for its alleviation; the benefits of other people’s charity therefore partly accrue to me. To put it differently, we might all of us be willing to contribute to the relief of poverty, provided everyone else did. We might not be willing to contribute the same amount without such assurance.
Therefore, this wild-eyed radical continues, the government must step in. If poverty is to be alleviated, everyone must be taxed so that no one gets a free ride to the benefits of poverty eradication.
How appalling! How socialistic! Of course, what else could one expect from an ivory-tower academic complete with Nobel prize?
When the man said “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” he meant it.
H/t Allen R. Sanderson.