How Timothy Leary Adds Value to an Unopened Envelope

Friday fun link: Acceler8or interviews William Gibson about the cyberculture/counterculture of the 1990s. My favorite part involves Timothy Leary:

[P]eople would come up to him and give him drugs, which he'd give to someone else, usually a perfect stranger, as soon as the gifter was gone. He said that this was a win-win proposition, as the first person could now say that he'd given drugs to Timothy Leary, and the second person that Timothy Leary had given him drugs. I never saw him look to see what was in the envelope.

Question for the commenters: Suppose you're an economics professor who wants to tell that story in the classroom. What principle would you use it to illustrate?

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  • sarcasmic||

    value added

  • R C Dean||

    The subjectivity of value.

  • ||


  • Brandybuck||

    And the trade creates wealth. If enough unopened envelopes had been re-gifted by Tim we would all have been wealthy beyond our imaginings.

  • Pi Guy||

    “Thank you. Since we decided a few weeks ago to adopt the leaf as legal tender, we have, of course, all become immensely rich.”

  • ||

    The wondrous wealth-creating abilities of trade.

  • 0x90||

    The win-win nature of subjective valuation, i.e. the reason why any trade takes place at all.

  • Shirley Knott||

    The shortest possible refutation of the labor theory of value.

  • SugarFree||

    ^^^Gets my vote

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||


  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, better than mine.

  • ||

    They Keynesian multiplier.

    The government is like Timothy Leary, we give them all our money and they gift it to someone else and we all feel wonderful plus sticky wages, something something...

  • Sam Grove||

    Except we don't "give" our money, we submit to government's implicit threat.

  • Ska||

    Free drugs are the best drugs principle.

  • John||

    Exchange value versus expierential value of goods.

  • John||

    Another example of this is the old story about Eisenhower once losing 20 dollars in a poker game at the White House to a young aide. The aide said he would always keep that $20 bill. Eisenhower told him "in that case let me write you a check". The experience of having that particular good is of greater value that the inherent value of the good in the market place.

  • robc||

    Short odd Belmont favorites is another example.

    If a horse (like this year) is going for the Triple Crown, people wont cash the winning ticket, because it is worth more than $2.20 to have a triple crown ticket. Even more so, if you have a winning ticket for the same horse in the Derby and Preakness.

  • GW||

    If he had given the drugs to an attacking space alien, our unemployment rate would go below zero.

  • Pi Guy||

    I assure you that you aliens do not exist.

    Because you know for sure that, if they did, we'd be sending them foreign aid too.

  • Angus MacAskill||

    Marginal utility, and Marx's theory of capitalist exploitation just to cover all the bases.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Value is not a zero-sum game.

  • Broseph of Invention||

    Wow dude it kind of reflects the bundling and valuation of scarce drug and non-scarce reputation resources when you think about it, LoL!

  • R C Dean||

    Alright, the bot is starting to scare me a little.

  • ||

    I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

  • Broseph of Invention||

    That my spoof was believable shows just how close we are to that sweet, sweet day.

  • amelia||

    It's all wishful thinking. I don't even come here that much and I knew it was a spoof. Good idea though.

  • Zeb||

    Or that lots of people spoof anonbot. Which seems more likely to me.

  • Broseph of Invention||

    The greatest trick anonbot ever pulled was convincing the H+R commentariat that he was a squirrel/commenter created joke.

  • 35N4P2BYY||

    I will say that this is one of the more clever bot names I have seen.

    Maybe the old anon-bots and the bi-love bot have exchanged binary genetic material and Broseph is thier progeny.

  • Voros McCracken||

    Lagging Subjective Demand

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I have no idea what's goin' on.

    You wanna get high?


  • Tommy_Grand||

    Lame interview

  • FreeLibertine||

    Timothy Leary said LSD stood for "Let the State Disintegrate".

  • Pi Guy||

    Hmmmm... I am not unfamiliar with this, as you say, Disintegrated State.

  • IceTrey||

    What goes around, comes around?


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