The Ass-Wiping Paradox: A Contribution to Public Choice Theory

I call it the Ass-Wiping Paradox.

Suppose C is the cost of wiping one’s ass.

Suppose D is the likelihood of getting a disease from not wiping one’s ass and A is the cost of the disease.

Suppose O is the likelihood of social ostracism from not wiping one’s ass and B is the cost of that ostracism and F is the likelihood of getting found out.

Suppose S is the satisfaction of knowing you’re the only one who is smart enough not to wipe his own ass.

Then, only if S  + C – (AD + BFO) < 0, should one wipe one’s ass.

Consider that in an industrialized society with good sanitation, C (price of asswiping) and D (likelihood of disease acquisition) are likely to be close to 0. Consider that because you live alone, spending your time converting your political biases into equations, B (cost of ostracism) is likely to be low.

These things being so, and S (satisfaction) always being positive, we must conclude that no Public Choice theorist should ever wipe his ass. And yet, based on informal surveys, as many as 3/4ths of Public Choice theorists wipe their asses a positive number of times per day. Thus, the “Ass-Wiping Paradox.”

We propose the careful avoidance of any empirical data collection as this may tend to lessen our ability to use the word “paradox” with a straight face.

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