Sharing costs reduces responsibility

by free electron on March 26, 2008

I have had to do a lot of traveling lately for my consulting job.

I’ve gained weight.

All of that restaurant eating: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Sometimes there would be dessert, sometimes an appetizer, sometimes a bottle of wine. What the heck, someone else was paying.

So I ate more than I usually would because someone else was paying. And now I am paying for it.

Part of my traveling was to New York City where my sister owns a 5th floor walk up. I met her for dinner after an apartment association meeting and she ranted on about how some people do not want to divide up the electricity into separate accounts. Right now, there is only one electric bill for everyone who lives on the block, as it is all one complex of apartments.

People leave lights on all the time. Fans are always running so that the traffic noise is reduced.

And it is easy for everyone to do this because someone else is paying. Those who use less energy subsidize those who use more and no one knows how much of the electricity they are actually using.

This is true for many of us. Someone else is paying for our energy use. There is no impetus to spend the money on any energy saving appliances because no one person is going to get the energy savings. It will just be lost in the lights left on all day and night by a different apartment owner.

The only way people will change their habits is if they are billed with all of the costs of their actions. How much easier would it be to drive slowly and pollute less if those who were driving were charged with polluting the air and soil as well as for the gas they used.

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