Free Rider Problem Essay

1128 Words Apr 19th, 2001 5 Pages
The Free Rider Problem

The free rider issue has become one of the most serious economic issues today. The free rider is a lazy type person who wants the benefits that others bring in without having to do the work. The free rider typically takes advantage of a public good. Living in a civilized society presents many opportunities for free riding, which we have yet to find a way to control. Economists regard the possibility for free riding as a problem for the free market, which usually leads to government intervention. Government intervention is not generally needed in a free market society but in this case if there were no government intervention this problem would not find a solution. The free-rider issue is often seen as a
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Markets work to exhaust the gains from trade and cooperation because each individual has an interest in finding and capturing any and all such gains. Of course, when free riders can enjoy a public good without payment or trade, production and the potential gains from it may never occur. Efforts to originate government programs and to control them in the public interest are no different. The public decision-making process is a procedure for generating a public good and the persons involved in it, whether they are the voters, judges, legislators, or civil servants, all can be expected to treat it as any other public good. A public good is a very special class of goods, which cannot practically be withheld from one individual consumer without withholding them from all. In other words, a public good is given to everyone. The free riders like public goods because they are easy to get to and there are tons of them. When there are this many goods, it is hard to spot some of them missing until a bunch are gone and by that time the free rider has moved on too. When this good is used and not paid for, the results can be very ugly. The free rider takes these goods for free, leaving the rest of the hard working people to make up the difference. This difference we have to make up is usually a higher tax. In raising

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