Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Economist Has Plan To Save The Spiders

See Spiders and sense. It was a letter to the editor of The San Antonio Express-News:
"Re: “Rare spider has created a web of complications,” Front Page, Sept. 16:

The article pointed out how the finding of a rare cave spider has halted construction on the interchange between Texas 151 and Loop 1604. I would like to propose a simple, common-sense way to make the correct social choice and either proceed with the interchange or construct an alternative interchange at no added cost to the taxpayer.

I would propose that the cave containing the spider be sold at auction on eBay along with any genetic rights unique to spiders from that particular cave. Place as the reservation price, meaning the minimum bid that would be accepted, the extra cost arising from constructing an interchange without disrupting the habitat. I am sure the Texas Department of Transportation could estimate that cost.

That is all that needs doing. If the spider sells on eBay, that means the value of that spider and its habitat in the competitive market is greater than the cost of redirecting the interchange. The money raised from the sale would cover the cost of redoing the interchange. If the spider does not sell, that means preserving the spider and its habitat is simply not worth as much as the interchange would be. Either way, the result would be efficient. If only our regulators would allow it!"

Robert Collinge, retired economist and professor of economics, UTSA

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