Monday, May 31, 2004

Externalities Everywhere

Real live politicians continue to outdo late-night comics and their writers -- not to speak of George Orwell, wherever he may be. The Guardian of May 26 reports the following:

"The good news for Singapore's army of clandestine chewers: gum is going on sale legally for the first time in 12 years. The bad news: if you want some, you will have to register as a gum user and show an identity card every time you buy a packet. ... Nineteen 'medicinal' brands of gum such as Nicorette will now be available as part of a free trade agreement with America, but only on strict tightly-policed conditions. Anyone found trading illicitly will risk two years in jail, and a $S5,000 (1,650 Sterling) fine."

The article goes on to mention unsightly splats of disposed gum on sidewalks, etc.

Externalities (and antidotes) everywhere.