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Consumer Surplus and Fly-Fishing

By Louis Cahill What would I have to pay you to give up fly-fishing? If you are not familiar with the term consumer surplus, don’t feel bad. It is, to my mind anyway, a pretty esoteric concept, but one which economists hold a lot of stock in. It’s a way of measuring the parts of our economy that can’t be measured. It’s the value of what you don’t pay for. On one level it makes a lot of sense. An area that economists spend a lot of time evaluating is the digital economy. For example, a study was done to evaluate the consumer surplus of Facebook. If it could be determined what people would pay for Facebook, that figure would be the consumer surplus. That’s a hard value to asses, so they did the next best thing. They figured out what it would cost to get people not to use Facebook. They actually paid people to give it up for a month. The average cost of getting someone off of Facebook was $48 per month. Personally, I have a lot of feelings about that. I quit Facebook about a year and a half ago. The account is still there and Justin Pickett posts on it for me but it’s been a year and a half since I looked at it. I would pay well over $48 per month to not see Facebook and I might be willing to pay others not to use it. If you are a Facebook user, I recommend giving it up. You’ll be happier, I promise. Ok, enough rant. This got me thinking about the consumer surplus in fly fishing. What is the value of the things that we don’t pay for? Let’s start with Gink and Gasoline. Don’t worry, I’m not going to start charging you, but you’d be shocked how many times that idea has been pushed on me. You might be surprised to hear that I have turned down three offers to sell G&G, so I have some idea of what that figure might be, but what is it worth to you, the reader? It’s worth a great deal to me. Not in dollars, but in my heart. That part of me is a little put off by some economist’s assertion that the digital efforts of my labor are simply part of some math equation bent on figuring my worth to the machine. Still, there is a dollar and cents value to what’s going on here and it isn’t cheap to run anymore. I’d like to point out that the bill is currently being paid by the awesome folks whose ads you see on the site. Also the folks who come on the hosted trips and the straight up heroes who contribute the content. That’s worth thinking about next time you hit the comment section. So if we can put a value on the five minutes you waste every day, at work I assume, reading G&G, what about the time you actually spend fishing? Let’s use the same math as the Facebook study. What would I have to pay you to give up fly-fishing? Sourced from: Gink and Gasoline