Mark Cuban Has No Inner Economist or Economics for Beggars

10 Aug

Via Marginal Revolution, a Freakanomics quorum on street charity, including MR blogger Tyler Cowen.  The hypothetical posed for discussion:

You are walking down the street in New York City with $10 of disposable income in your pocket. You come to a corner with a hot dog vendor on one side and a beggar on the other. The beggar looks like he’s been drinking; the hot dog vendor looks like an upstanding citizen. How, if at all, do you distribute the $10 in your pocket, and why?

I suggest reading the whole thing, but here are my two favorite responses.  This is Mark Cuban’s in its entirety:

I keep the money in my pocket and keep walking because I have no reason to just hand over money on a street corner.

Thanks for not playing!  I guess he hasn’t read Tyler’s new book yet.  This from Barbra Ehrenreich is also good:

And before anyone virtuously offers him a hot dog, they should reflect on the possibility that the beggar is a vegetarian or only eats kosher or Hallal meat.

Because for Ehrenreich, beggars really can be choosers.

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One Response to “Mark Cuban Has No Inner Economist or Economics for Beggars”

  1. quixote August 11, 2007 at 10:18 am #

    Great one-line, but I think it’s legitimate for a beggar to express vegetarian preference. I mean, hot dogs do run afoul of several religious traditions (particular those served wrapped in bacon with friend onions and peppers—mmmmm LA hotdogs…), and it’s legitimate to keep the faith while in poverty.

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