If you go to the theatre and see a movie, it costs around $x per person for one viewing. If you wait for a few months and see it on DVD, it costs half for the whole family for viewing several times in a week. But suppose everyone does the latter. Theatres would go out of business. Movie makers would garner smaller revenues and that affects the type of movies that they make.
What makes sense for one person creates problems when everyone does it.
- If everyone started saving more, many businesses would close down because of poor sales.
- If everyone lived a healthy life (exercise, no alcohol, smoking or drugs), many medical professionals would lose their jobs.
- If everyone were happy with their current wealth and earnings, there would be no entrepreneurs.
- If every student only worried about their studies, there would be no sports or arts.
- If everyone were on good behavior, there would be no judges, policemen, lawyers and armies (perhaps that is a good thing!)
- If everyone liked the same sports team, …
Of course, that is not going to happen.
In the past, many jobs existed because of people’s needs – occupations such as farming, teaching, carpentry, etc. Today, many jobs exist because people want more than their needs. Also many businesses are there because of people’s vices.
Why does this matter?
Even though people know everything, they will not behave the same way. More to the point, many of them will not act rationally to help themselves. The ones who realize this see opportunities for growth and benefits and can take advantage of them. They can do that without that advantage being destroyed by many people rushing in to do the same.
For many things, we can be thankful that people are not the same.