Free Rider Problem Essay

1128 Words5 Pages
The Free Rider Problem The free rider issue has become one of the most serious economic issues today. The free rider is a lazy type person who wants the benefits that others bring in without having to do the work. The free rider typically takes advantage of a public good. Living in a civilized society presents many opportunities for free riding, which we have yet to find a way to control. Economists regard the possibility for free riding as a problem for the free market, which usually leads to government intervention. Government intervention is not generally needed in a free market society but in this case if there were no government intervention this problem would not find a solution. The free-rider issue is often seen as a…show more content…
The free rider wants anything he can get for free and will think nothing of it if he can get away with it. Free riders take advantage of public goods without having to contribute to them. For example, if society decides to encourage people to use less of a product and many people actually respond to this call, the product's market will improve. Although the free rider may continue using this product, he will benefit. This creates a tremendous problem for activists who attempt to start a movement to improve the environment. Many people, seeing no incentive to join personally in the movement, just continue behaving the way they did before and yet reap the benefits of other people's work. When everyone acts as a free rider, no benefit at all will come from the proposed action. Because it is in everyone's personal interest not to participate in the collective movement, the movement is highly vulnerable to failure. Though society as a whole may try to conserve a resource, the free rider can easily take advantage of this by not participating in the conservation effort. Those who believe in the concept of the free rider and the problems such people create might advocate government policy to require everyone to take part in efforts to improve the environment. Such people might contend that government action is the only fair and reliable way to prevent environmental problems. David Hume recognized the free-rider problem
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