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Econ Problem Part Two-The Dog

So I started that entry with the intent of talking about the dog. To give you the background, we were discussing (and when I say "discussing" what I really mean is, she was lecturing and we were falling asleep-minus those occasions where we snapped out of our dazes to help her out with her English).....<---And that's a broken sentence fragment where I got sidetracked and now I'm going to start over completely so you don't have to look back up for the beginning of the sentence (which now you may do anyway, but hey I tried). Okay, yeah, let's try that again, okay? So we were listening to her talk about Coase thereom crap. The example? Well Dick has a barking dog. Jane is his neighbor and she wants peace and quiet (Welcome to the club, Jane! And while I'm already inside the parentheses, let's talk about those names. Dick and Jane? You can tell these people aren't art majors....where's the creativity?? We've also learned about Bert and Ernie's water bottle needs and Tom and Huck's DVD business. Brilliant, I tell ya...)
So right. Dick-dog. Jane-peace. Well, the point was to figure out the social costs and what they should do about it. The solutions ranged from Dick merely keeping the dog because Jane's peac rights weren't enough for her to do anything....to Dick having to pay Jane to be allowed to keep the dog...to Jane paying Dick to get rid of it....to Dick having to get rid of the dog because he couldn't pay the fees that his imaginary town had suddenly implemented at the drop of the hat. To make things worse/better, they're given monetary values. What if...(this is an economist's idea of being open-minded, by the way) Jane's peace is worth $800 and Dick's dog is worth $500 to him. Then the numbers switch. Still with me? I hope not. This stuff is boring and makes me want to raise my hand to ask "What about the dog??" In fact, I almost did... Where does the dog go?? Is he/she sent to the pound? If so, then what are the social costs there? Who pays for that? Who pays for the dog to be euthanized when he's deemed unwanted? And what if the dog is merely dropped on the street (because who knows? Dick's cost of driving to the pound may not be worth it...and if he's that cheap, you know he's not going to shell out the cash and time to put up "free dog to good home" flyers or an ad in the paper)....Don't the social costs of having a stray dog wandering the streets--possibly howling, possibly injuring passerbys out of fear or hunger insanity, possibly causing the streets to look trashy or dangers and therefore, lowering the value of the town and consequently the houses within (including Dick and Jane's)--count for anything??
Yes, there's more...

Let's think about how Dick got the dog in the first place. Did he buy him/her? Is the dog a purebred with papers? Will, by getting rid of the dog, Dick get Jane's money 'and' the price of reselling the dog? What effects would that have? What if Dick gets an even more intrusive item to replace the dog now? How about he gets a huge surround sound system 'inside' his house, but now he keeps it so loud that it's more disturbing than the original dog? Is that better than the barking dog that may or may not actually bark constantly?
Or what about this? Could the dog indeed have positive externality? What if the dog attracts passerbys during the day because he/she is such a friendly dog? Or what if the dog is actually being trained as a seeing eye dog? Heck, what if Dick is blind....is Jane heartless enough to make him get rid of the dog....or is Dick blind enough (uh, metaphorically speaking) to not realize that if a dog can't be trained to not bark all night long, that he/she is unlikely to make an obedient guide dog anyway? 'Then' where does the dog go? Or what if the dog is a clown dog or has a special talent like the Airbud dog who shoots hoops? Wouldn't that attract a positive crowd to the area...which in turn, would do the opposite of the stray dog scenario....and would bring in tourism and possibly 'raise' equity value, right?
And can we talk about the dog's feelings now? Why doesn't the dog have a name? He/she doesn't even have a gender, does he/she? Why is he/she treated as an inanimated object? Will Dick have to pay for the psychiatric care that'll be needed because of this? Did the dog (doesn't that sound horrible...."the dog"....*shudders*) have a preconceived idea that he/she was actually wanted....that he/she was chosen to be loved and cared for....and to, in turn, love and care for his owner...his partner....his friend? How would the dog feel if he/she found out he/she was merely an object in a monetary economics problem? Can you imagine how devastating that might be? What effects would the dog's suicide have? Would the social costs rise when the other dogs in the area realized they were likely unloved and merely objects of figurative value?
What if it transferred over to other species, too? What if all the animals in the area began running away or committing suicide? If wildlife in general got word, oh my, what effects that would have, huh? And wouldn't the owners who actually loved their pets become depressed, and possibly committing suicide? Can you imagine the reaction? The media? The psychological evaluations? And even if the owners didn't kill themselves, by eliminating their pets, many of them may have no stress release or sense of comraderie as usual, which means, wouldn't health care prices rise even more? Would anyone really want to move into the area with this happening? Wouldn't the entire area become a ghost town because of everyone either dying or leaving before it could happen to them, too?
I could seriously continue on and on about this. I mean...I didn't even touch the consequences this could cause if the dog were actually a puppy at the time, or if the animals turned to other means to make themselves happy, and....yeah, that poor dog....:(

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