A survey [in 1992] indicated that 46 percent of Americans would be unwilling to give up television for the rest of their lives in return for a million dollars. (more) How much would someone have to pay you to give up the Internet for the rest of your life? Would a million dollars be enough? Twenty million? How about a billion dollars? “When I ask my students this question, they say you couldn’t pay me enough.” (
Cant find the original link, so substituted a more direct one.
The first citation seems to be entirely broken - I can find nothing about Cowen in the link http://stmaryvalleybloom.or...
I looked up the citation in Cowen's book. The reference is:
“Would You Give Up TV for a Million Bucks?” 1992. TV Guide, October 10, pp. 10–15
I WOULD definetly take the million... Invested correctly, it could last the rest of my, and my families life comfortably. My husband is a disabled veteran, and all we want is peace and quiet. That would do just fine. One million, and no internet (which we are on all day) sounds like a deal to me!
I have a hard time getting out and about. If I had to do without the internet, I would kill myself rather than try to figure a way to do without it. It came along just in the nick of time for me.
So, NO, not for any amount of money.
What amount of money would it take you to be banished to an island where everyone you interact with is a paid servant?
It won't be long before everyone in the world is an internet user of some sort (via SMS initially, but that morphs into broadband quickly). Which means that in order to maintain any sort of normal social relationship you will have to be too. How hard is it to deal with your friends who refuse to check email, and respond to texts or phone calls? Remember, phone is going to all be internet-based soon enough.
This isn't about economics, it's about human connection, community and personal identity. No man is an island.
Could you give up the internet, even if you honestly tried to do so? That means no telephone, television, banking, and in some cases voting, paying your taxes, buying books or tickets to cultural/sporting events, because all of those things rely on the internet in whole or in part.
If 80% of the population accepted the no internet deal, they would very shortly set up their own wide area network which would supersede the internet.
If you expand that to no computers, well, that means adding things like all major appliances, electricity, running water if it's metered, and central heating to the list of things you also have to give up.
I've often thought that people are too ready to say that they wouldn't do X even for £1m (or even $1m), because we've come to think of such sums as being relatively small even though for the overwhelming majority of people they're not.
There aren't many things I wouldn't do for a million.
Like everyone else here, I don't watch TV so wouldn't be bothered about that.
I'm going to go out on a limb (safe in the knowledge admittedly that I'll never have to substantiate my words) and say that unlike most people here I *would* give up the internet for life for $1m. I'd probably get far more done and be much happier if I did, even without the million.
You forgot about love.
Unlike economists, mother nature is aware of the determinicity-quality tradeoff, and biases animals with chemicals to add qualitative features to (relatively) deterministic experiences. Our experience of this chemical rigging is called emotion.
Emotions like love are not usually apparent in our relationship with the Internet.
This question and discussion reminded me of one of my favorite short stories of all time -- Chekhov's "The Bet" -- in which a young man agrees to be imprisoned for 15 years in exchange for millions of rubles from a wealthy older banker. He was not allowed to see or talk to anyone but could have access to any book he wanted. It's well worth the read: http://www.eastoftheweb.com...
I, for one, would take the million and forego the $ 4,000 -- to make sure I was locked into the deal. I would be more tranquil with the irreversible choice, instead of forever struggling with the devilish option of one day reverting back to the Internet. And then, I would read hundreds of more books than I would have otherwise....
Life without the internet is hard to even imagine at this point. I don't even know what people did with all their time prior to ~1992 or so. They must have read paper books, I guess?
It's a difficult proposition for me, it basically equates to: "Would you take a million dollars to never again speak to most of the people you've met in your life?"
First of all, I'd like to know who gave the writer here the right to tell me what I would do in a given situation. Second, if for some reason I were to take the money, the first thing I'd do with it is get the internet back.
The companies with sufficient cash to be loaning it are not the ones complaining about insufficient customers.
A lot of companies would not need "more investment" to expand; they would just need to hire more people and pay other marginal costs. Even for manufacturing, plants are usually at 70~80% production capacity, aren't they?
But anyway. It isn't the "giving them more cash" and letting them invest that will cause them to have more customers; the purpose is to change the decisions that consumers and employees make, not the decisions that companies make. Working less and making less money means fewer iPods purchased (both because it is financially unviable and also because abandoning the signal of income means it's easier to abandon the signal of luxury goods), while working less specifically when employed by companies making high profits means high wage costs selectively for profitable companies (or in this case, lower wage costs for everyone else except profitable companies) which makes them slightly less profitable.
Investment is not the goal. Reducing unemployment is the goal, even if it means a drop in the total amount of hours worked.
"According to the study, between the second quarter of 2009, when the recovery began, and the fourth quarter of 2010, national income rose by $528 billion, with $464 billion of that growth going to pretax corporate profits, while just $7 billion went to aggregate wages and salaries, after accounting for inflation."From Economix NYT blog, these are the companies that people don't need to earn money to buy from, because if people's wages go down these companies can either lower their prices, or they can accept a drop in sales volume due to selling a product that is based off of utility as a signal, not for intrinsic utility in a competitive market.
Added 12July: Tyler Cowen reviews the academic lit on willingness to pay for internet – its about 2% of income, or less than $100 a month.Now just imagine the consumer surplus from having clean, running water..!
TV would be easy... the only thing I really hate missing on TV at the moment are certain sports events and for 4K per month I could easily go see all of them in person (which I would prefer).
If the internet cost 4000$ a month I couldn't afford to use it and therefore I wouldn't (but nobody I know could afford it either and therefore my social circle would remain intact... although how people organized sport teams/leagues before the internet is almost a mystery to me)
I can afford to not make an extra 4K and if I knew it was ONLY for a month I could go without... although if that month was January it would certainly make the decision much more difficult.
So, which risks were you positing, what risk free interest rate is that risk level equivlane to, and why did you not use that number for purposes of discussion?
Also, agreed with David_Jeorg and tylerh.
example that the Internet must be crap. Put another way, if people value the Internet much more than they have to pay for it, then the quality of the content only needs to be just enough to induce them to continue paying for it. Quality works on a marginal basis, just as quantity does
Congatulations: you just proved that all (free) sex with one's spouse must be miserable.
I'm not married, but I *think* you made a mistake somewhere.