HHH: Welcome to the Dating Game! I’m Hans-Hermann Hoppe and I’ll be your host for Economics Week. My students are always asking me about dating. The way I explain this to my students is using the following example. Sometimes people hiss at it. Most people like it. Imagine a normal person, so to speak, that is in pursuit of a girl. Or vice versa, a girl in pursuit of a man. Then what we do, of course, is take her out to dinner and bring her flowers. We take her out to dinner again. We listen to the conversation. We are very impressed by all the deep thoughts that we hear. We have never heard anything interesting like that before in our lives. Of course, with some expectations. Which are, of course, in the more or less distant future. This is how normal people operate.
Tonight we have three eligible young Catallarchs for our Bachelorette to choose from. Let’s get started!
Bachelor Number One lives in Boston where he’s a resident at Harvard Medical School.
Number One: Hi!
Bachelorette: Mmmm, nice voice. Bachelor Number One, at your apartment I notice you just spent $1000 on a plasma screen TV, but you only spent $50 on our date. What does that reveal about your preferences?
Number One: Aren’t these considerations already taken into account by my actions? If I spend $1000 on a plasma screen TV, instead of favors from my date, then I have demonstrated that at the time of purchase, the marginal utility of the plasma screen TV was greater than the marginal utility of that unit (no pun intended) of sexual favors from my date, the marginal utility of the $1000, and the marginal utility of any other good I could have exchanged for that $1000.
HHH: Our second Catallarch is a software engineer from Sunnyvale, California. In his spare time he’s building a utopian community in international waters.
Number Two: Hey baby!
Bachelorette: Bachelor Number Two, can you describe for me what kind of bachelorette you’ve been waiting for?
Number Two: Waiting? That doesn’t sound like a very good strategy. Essentially you’d be assuming that the ideal bachelorette exists and you will find her. Seems to me like this would lead to a lot of people never accepting a candidate, or doing so when they are old, say, too old to reproduce. If you are going to meet 100 bachelorettes a year, then the best out of 1000 seems way better than holding out for the absolute best.
Your strategy is willing to trade any amount of time being single for a minute increase in quality. Such lexicographic orderings are problematic and rarely describe real preferences.
Oh, and I’m not actually a bachelor, by the way, but I am polyamorous and available.
Bachelorette: What the…??
HHH: Polyamorous? Does that mean you are a homosexual?
Number Two: Well, that’s not what polyamory means Hans, although….
HHH: I ask because the advocates of alternative, non-family and kin-centered lifestyles such as, for instance, individual hedonism, parasitism, nature-environment worship, homosexuality, or communism will have to be physically removed from society, too, if one is to maintain a libertarian order.
Let’s move on. Bachelor Number Three is studying economics and management and he’s chairman of the College Libertarians at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Number Three: Hello.
Bachelorette: Bachelor Number Three, would you be romantic on our date or is your time preference too high, like some economists?
HHH: Keynes, for instance.
Number Three: Well I don’t think that the benefits of rape are in principle inferior to the benefits of romance, if that’s what you’re asking. But personally I prefer efficiency, so I wouldn’t expect consummation until my benefits exceeded your costs.
Bachelorette: How… thoughtful.
HHH: There you have it! Now it’s time for our Bachelorette to choose – which Catallarch will it be?
Hans? Your “dinner and flowers” routine is sounding better and better.
I guess I’ll choose the Least Imprudent Predator: You.
HHH: I HAVE NEVER HEARD ANYTHING INTERESTING LIKE THAT IN MY LIFE!!!
[aside to audience, with a wink]
Of course, with some expectations…..