Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Random Comments

I learned today that wearing Vibram Fivefinger shoes increases the probability that a Hare Krishna evangelist will approach you.

A good rule to follow is to be very individualistic in your consumption patterns, but very cooperative and rule-following whenever you are involved in a production process. Most of the time, individuality is harmful when you are trying to get things done efficiently, but individuality of consumption preferences means that everyone can be happier because there is less competition for the same stuff.

I found an interesting story at the end of an article on property rights:

Property Rights for "Sesame Street"
Janet Beales Kaidantzis
Ever seen two children quarreling over a toy? Such squabbles had been commonplace in Katherine Hussman Klemp's household. But in the Sesame Street Parent's Guide she tells how she created peace in her family of eight children by assigning property rights to toys.
As a young mother, Klemp often brought home games and toys from garage sales. "I rarely matched a particular item with a particular child," she says. "Upon reflection, I could see how the fuzziness of ownership easily led to arguments. If everything belonged to everyone, then each child felt he had a right to use anything."
To solve the problem, Klemp introduced two simple rules: First, never bring anything into the house without assigning clear ownership to one child. The owner has ultimate authority over the use of the property. Second, the owner is not required to share. Before the rules were in place, Klemp recalls, "I suspected that much of the drama often centered less on who got the item in dispute and more on whom Mom would side with." Now, property rights, not parents, settle the arguments.
Instead of teaching selfishness, the introduction of property rights actually promoted sharing. The children were secure in their ownership and knew they could always get their toys back. Adds Klemp, "'Sharing' raised their self-esteem to see themselves as generous persons."
Not only do her children value their own property rights, but also they extend that respect to the property of others. "Rarely do our children use each other's things without asking first, and they respect a 'No' when they get one. Best of all, when someone who has every right to say 'No' to a request says 'Yes,' the borrower sees the gift for what it is and says 'Thanks' more often than not," says Klemp.

Now that I think about it, I remember that when I was young, my parents also did a good job of defining and enforcing property rights. Everything belonged to either me, or my brother, or my parents, and I knew that my stuff was mine, but that I should not take anyone else's property without getting permission.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

Good for your parents!
Katherine Hussmann Klemp