The Price System: Health Care

The price system is rather amazing. Please imagine for a moment that you heard a gallon of gasoline was $1.50. First you would think, “cheap!” Then you might rush to fill your tank. Or, told that a diamond ring was…

Toasters and Pencils

In this TED talk, a designer explains how he tried to build his own toaster. Deciding to focus on five basic ingredients instead of the 100 he would really need, he describes what happened. For the steel, first he needed…

How Much Should Grandma Pay?

When your Grandma gets her yearly physical, the doctor gets a check from the government. Did you ever wonder, though, who decides how much? Because she had to sign up for Medicare at 65, the market did not decide the…

The Price System: Pelicans, Professors, and Murders

Is a pelican worth $500? What is the value of a college professor? What does a murder cost us? Sometimes it’s tough to get a price. We know that BP owes money for wildlife lost on devastated wetlands. But how…

A Pencil, An Apple, and a Price System

I suspect we take prices for granted. Please think for a moment about a $10 pair of shoes. As a consumer, that $10 price tag tells you that they are inexpensive and you won’t have to sacrifice very much to…

More Than a Price

Listening to a wonderful Radio Lab (WNYC 10/09/09) podcast on Numbers, I started to think about a comment about what you can learn from a gas pump. $1.40? Maybe a teenager with little to spend. $10.04? Probably a cash payment…