Everywhere, everyday, our behavior is shaped by hidden rules of ownership.
- Approximately how much revenue might Netflix be sacrificing because of password sharing?
- How might password sharing benefit Netflix?
- In one sentence, state information that the graph in the econlife post conveys about account borrowing.
- Explain how airplane seat reclining represent an ownership clash between two fliers.
- Match one of the six hidden rules of ownership (listed in the econlife post) with each of the following:
- Password sharing
- Recline rage
- Groceries in a supermarket cart
- How did Alexander Hamilton display respect for ownership rights?
The Economic Idea: Ownership
Because a market economy depends on the incentives created by supply and demand, ownership is important. On the supply side, we need to know that we own land, labor, and capital when we produce goods and services. Ownership enables us to use the factors of production in ways that will be most profitable. Somewhat similarly, on the demand side, we are willing and able to purchase a good or a service because we believe that the purchase transfers ownership.
Moving beyond supply and demand transactions, ownership rights can become less clear. Imagine, for example, a parking space that one car slips into as another vehicle was waiting to occupy it. We could assume that the driver of the waiting vehicle was angry to have lost the spot because she assumed temporary ownership would be hers. At the same time, temporary ownership was acquired by the car in the spot.
For some of the same reasons, with passwords, on airplanes, and in supermarkets, two individuals can claim ownership of the same commodity.
Activity Goal: To become more familiar with everyday ownership.
Procedure: Discussion in pairs or small groups.
1. Divide into pairs or small groups (each with 3-5 students).
2. For each of the following hidden rules of ownership, present an example. You might want to review the descriptions of the hidden rules in the econlife post:
3. Re-gather as a class.
4. Each group should present an example of “ownership.” Then, the class can decide which of the six “hidden rules” it illustrated.