Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One shoe or two?

In economics, "left shoe" and "right shoe" are an often-cited example of perfect complements.  But my friend went to India and brought back an interesting story.  He found himself in need of a new pair of flip flops, so he located a shoe stand.  The man asked him: one shoe or two?

At first he was confused: why would anyone want one shoe?  But in retrospect it's obvious!  Here we buy our shoes in pairs, and we get a new pair when the old shoes stop looking nice.  But if we didn't have that luxury, we would wear our flip flops until one of them broke, and then we would just replace the one shoe.

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