Econ Department Squelches Free Market Innovation

by by Daniel Stump

Last Friday, the Brown University Department of Economics dealt a crushing blow to private industry in the form of a joint proclamation banning the aftermarket sale of seats in capped classes. Some industrious students had been insightful enough to see a need in the market and driven enough to fill it, thereby generating increased capital for themselves and raining a steady, if not great, trickle of golden wealth upon our uplifted faces. The economics department should congratulate these fine scholars for demonstrating the life-giving thirst for business that has brought our nation where it is today. Instead, Chair and Harrison S. Kravis University Professor of Economics Robert Serrano wrote, “I should simply remind you that there are circumstances in which the logic of the market system does not apply, and university life is one such example.” I'll admit, Serrano seems hard to argue with given the exorbitant on-campus prices of basic foodstuffs and other essential items; however, the elevated costs of these commodities can only be due to the utter lack of competition in campus markets. I've never even looked at an econ book, but it seems to me the solution would be for all students to get jobs with Brown University Dining Services in order to steal merchandise and hawk their wares from tented stands in the alley between St. Stephen's Church and Hegeman Hall. It would be the opening salvo of the first capitalist revolution since the last one. ¡Viva la Avaricia!

Daniel Stump B'14 is a regular contributor to the Independent.