The Free Market Miracle...in My BasementSubmitted by domenicsidoti on Fri, 02/10/2012 - 12:44
Drilling, sawing, grinding, and Spanglish. These are the sounds that emanate from my musty, leaky basement on this fine morning. Fear not readers, my basement is not under attack from those crazy Mexican terrorists that Rick Santorum warns us are lurking (a warning that three states apparently heeded this Tuesday). The activities below me are the result of a voluntary transaction where I indirectly transferred my software and supply chain domain “skills” for a dry, mold free basement. Indirect transfer of goods and services is why I can work in a niche software market and still convince skilled contractors to spend 2 days in my dingy cellar scrubbing the block foundation free of mold and digging up almost a century’s worth of dirt and grime to fix my water problems. In a world of direct transfer (barter) this would not be possible. I could not provide a basement waterproofing outfit anything they need with my professional skills in trade for theirs’. My ability to troubleshoot software system issues, analyze a distribution operation, or navigate the bureaucracy of a growing company offers the gentleman working away down there no benefits. This is not a revelation to anyone, it is common sense. You don’t need a high and mighty, self-loathing, blogger to tell you this. So why am I? Maybe I am out of ideas or with Santorum sweeping 3 state contests this week I don’t want to touch politics with a 1000 ft pole? Possibly, but I think it bears mention because it is an excellent example of how the free market allocates resources among a seemingly random chain of events. This miracle of orderly chaos, especially throughout academia these days, is often lost on many. The cause and effects of this transaction reach far beyond my desire for a mold free environment.
Based on my limited time, ability, knowledge, and tools for the job, I made the decision that my total cost (opportunity + actual) of “Doing It Yourself” was $XXXXX.XX. After recommendations, research, and an array of estimates, I found a provider that gave me the best price, timeline, system, and assurance. This provider’s price, while of course higher than I wanted to pay on something so intangible, came in well under the DIY total cost. The abilities and knowledge of 30 + years of doing this sort of work limited my exposure to rookie mistakes that almost certainly would have resulted from my stumbling efforts. The lifetime warranty attached to the price tag was a competitive advantage that could never be recovered if I were to go at it alone. But besides these personal benefits and decisions, what is so remarkable about this transaction that I feel the need to label it a “miracle” of the free market?
Everything. Let’s start with the availability of suppliers.
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