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Keeping The Competitive Edge

Photo: Brenna

We’re taking a bike tour through the Everglades, and the guide mentioned one of the airboat “captains,” who did something seemingly irrational. He owned a tiny island in the ‘Glades, on which he had situated some feral pigs that he showed to tourists on his boat tour. His “problem” was that he didn’t own the water around the island, and his many competitors also showed off the pigs to their customers. He got angry and turned the pigs into ham and bacon (which he presumably consumed). He is a very weird guy, so looking for rationality on his part may be silly-although spite is a perfectly reasonable, but not pretty basis for behavior. But his behavior might be considered dollar-maximizing without making any assumptions about interpersonal comparisons. It could well be that the value of the ham and bacon to him and any competitive advantage that he might gain now that his competitors can’t show off the pigs justify his actions.