Imagine you are new to town. As you drive to the gas station, you are told that gas prices are 20 dollars a gallon.
When you hear this first, you raise your eyebrows. But you are new to the place, and you want to fit in, so you just cough it up. You don’t want to be the out-of-town jerk arguing with the counter lady.
You get used to the new price. “Hmmm, maybe that’s how they do it here.’ You immerse in your new life. The gas prices pinch your wallet though. Soon enough you are not taking the car frequently. You wake up early to take the bus to work thrice a week. You try to carpool and give up. You take the train back and walk two miles home. You even think it is healthy – all the walking.
Four months pass. You take a business trip. On the way to the motel, it catches your eye. The gas price is S4 a gallon. The cab ride gives you time to think. “Wait a minute! What is going on here”?
You head to the gas station when you get back. You’ve lived there enough to ask people questions.
“Hey Joe, what’s up with the gas prices?”
“What about them?”- Joe’s looking at you plainly.
Why are they so high? Everyone else’s at S4 a gallon. How did it get to be 20 here?” A small pause.
Suddenly ‘Joe the gas station guy’ is explaining:” You see, it was me. I raised the gas prices to twenty dollars. I am studying to be an economist. I figured I’d control people behavior by raising gas prices. They would drive less and it would save the climate. So I told my uncle who is a councilor here.”
They put a $15 carbon tax.”
“Yeah, what else? If you drive around too much, you’ll damage the climate and your kids will pay the price. This way we’re splitting the costs between you and them. It is a total and complete solution. You’ll feel the pain caused by your actions. I saw you huffing and puffing up the hill on your way home the other day. We want the maximum number of people to be happy.”
“Plus when your wife has pre-eclampsia, you can use the car. We want people to be able to use the best technology for their emergencies.Gives them maximum value for money.”
“What are you guys doing with all the money!?
“I don’t know. I was for giving it to a windmill charity. My uncle wants to buy a supercomputer for climate modeling. Joe is miffed: “”What’re you looking at me like that for? If you don’t understand stuff this simple, you can go boil your head.”