Did Ed Snowden do the right thing?

Levi Pearson levipearson at gmail.com
Thu Jun 27 09:16:06 MDT 2013

On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 1:33 PM, Kyle Waters <unum at unum5.org> wrote:
> On 06/26/2013 12:59 PM, Jessie A. Morris wrote:
>> On Wednesday, June 26, 2013 12:50:13 Kyle Waters wrote:
>> Since I am not an expert at everything I only purchase things from vendors
>> whose insurance agencies are reputable. I verify that the merchant actually
>> does have a policy through Super Insurance Utah and since he does I know
>> that: 1. The insurance agency has checked out this guy's wares to make sure
>> they live up to his claims. Since they'll be paying for my death (my family
>> sues them and the insurance agency has to pay out) they have a good
>> incentive to make sure he's legit. 2. I know that the insurance agency will
>> pay out if I die.
> I think people have tried to explain this to me before your explanation is
> by far the best I've seen.
> Elements of this to exist in our society and I think they can be a really
> good way of handling things.  The problem that happens in our society (and
> maybe in a better educated society we could prevent it).  Is that Super
> Insurance Utah makes a bad call.  Hundreds of claims are filed.  Super
> Insurance Utah closes down.  Now all the companies are insured by Excellent
> Insurance Utah.  Of course I do my due diligence and find that Excellent
> Insurance Utah is all the same people.  Now I can either switch to a set of
> store all insured by equally bad companies or I can become a sustenance
> farmer.
> But of course there will always be stores with good insurance companies!!
> Actually there won't be.  It's called the market for lemons.  Since
> consumers only have to make a decision about one product(insurance) I guess
> the argument would be that they could spend the time to do that right.   I
> just don't believe they will. Of course currently we manage all this by
> selecting a product called a politician where research has shown our
> decision making isn't much better.

I think the general concept here that is difficult for markets to
manage correctly is that of externalities.  I may be willing to risk a
crap product if I get it cheap, but what if the crap product I buy and
don't feel like insuring ends up harming *you* instead of me?  This is
only the tip of the externality iceberg.  I know there are some
libertarian/free market proposals for this sort of thing, but I don't
find them very convincing.

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