Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Joe Sakic and snowblowing

One of the sections from Mankiw's chapter 3 (Interdependence and the Gains from Trade) asks whether Tiger Woods should mow his own lawn assuming that he is fast at mowing lawns. Mankiw shows us - using the economic concepts of opportunity cost and comparative advantage and some hypothetical information - that Tiger should not mow his lawn, but rather hire his neighbor "Forrest Gump".

We could alternatively ask: "Should Joe Sakic (captain of the Colorado Avalanche) snowblow his own driveway/sidewalk?" Reading this article leads us to conclude no, and maybe Joe would have benefited from reading Mankiw's text. But let's not be too hard on one of my favorite hockey players of all time (and my wife's favorite). As you will find out in this course, I am a huge hockey fan. I am in the minority, but I am a hockey fan anyway.

I was thinking about this while I was snowblowing my driveway and the sidewalk around our house this morning (five inches of snow and 0 degrees Fahrenheit), that like Joe, I may not be following the dictates of economic thought, except that I did not have a more profitable alternative this morning - an maybe neither did Joe. Yet after the fact, Joe Sakic will be out of work for three months. While not losing his salary, the emotional pain caused by his accident to his family and friends along with his lost productivity on the ice are surely worth hiring someone else to snowblow his driveway and sidewalk. In my case, I will ask my wife and get back to you on this one.

No comments: