Sunday, January 30, 2005

Cafe Hayek: Dogs at the Margin

Cafe Hayek knows dogs know economics.

...natural selection gave dogs an (unconscious) understanding of the margin.

If historically for wolves (and dogs) water was more readily available than food, as seems plausible, then there was less to be gained by a dog being genetically programmed to threaten physical violence if another dog shared his water than there was to be gained from threatening violence if another dog tried to share his food. Put differently, each available unit of food was worth more to wolves and early dogs than was each available, comparably sized unit of water. Hence, dogs’ genes are evolved to prompt them to be willing to spend more – risking life and limb by threatening violence – to protect a food source than they are programmed to spend to protect an equally sized source of water.
This is true. I know from experience.


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