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Thread: Free rider and free loader problems

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Jun 2009

    Default Free rider and free loader problems

    What is your attitude to free loader or free rider problems? For instance do you feel strongly enough about it that you would forego the use of something because of your concern that its existence makes it possible or likely that others may abuse it?

    The obvious example is the welfare state, despite being able to use universally available public services or social security or public health insurance there are many whose concern with its possible abuse, fraudulent claims or undeserved claims upon them by free loaders or free riders, would forego ever being able to use the same themselves personally.

    Although I can see other, private arrangements being just as effected by this, for instance insurance schemes and claims upon them, if everyones subscription to the scheme were to increase as a result of one or two highly reckless or adventure loving individuals who have to make frequent claims to cover personal injuries or losses due to the same leading to everyone opting out of the scheme.

    Slightly different from the usual welfare state issue is that of public goods, these could, in theory be provided by private but collective sources, such as neighbourhood associations, apartment residents groups or even in intentional communities. An example of a public good would be street lighting or something resembling it, would you be concerned enough about someone making more use of it than you to try and oppose your own need to pay for it? In that instance I suppose it would be possible to suggest public lighting is phased out and you'll just carry your own torch instead.

    That may sound a little absurd but I have heard some conservatives in the UK oppose spending on police services, I kid you not, because they personally do not "use" them since their communities are peaceful places in which aggression or violence are unheard of and feel that poorer communities in which crime and the want of policing are greater are oversubscribing to the universal service and in the process effectively abusing it by oversubscription.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    378 sx/so


    This is the only thing that balances out abuse from the top. Not ideal or how things should be, but what do you expect?
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

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