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The Economics of Too Many Pinkie Pies

January 28, 2013

In a recent episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, “Too Many Pinkie Pies“, Pinkie Pie confronts the scarcest resource of all: time. The episode is a great introduction to the economic framework of decision making. Because everypony only has so much time in a day, often difficult choices must be made to determine what activities you can do. Pinkie Pie must chose between hanging out with Rainbow Dash at the lake, raising a barn with Applejack, or going to a tea party with Fluttershy. Economists call the value of the best alternative not chosen the opportunity cost. In this case, if Pinkie Pie decides to hang out with Rainbow Dash, the opportunity cost of that choice is the fun she would have had raising the barn with Applejack. If she had gone to the barn raising, the opportunity cost would be the fun from swimming at the lake.

A Temporal Dilemma
1000px-Pinkie_head_turn_45_degrees_clockwise_S3E3

Pinkie’s solution is to magically clone (clonies?) herself so that she can be everywhere at once, but unfortunately for her that doesn’t solve the fundamental scarcity. She wants her clones to describe how much fun they had at the various tasks, but you don’t do something fun to find out how much fun it is; you do something fun to have fun! At the end of the day, the real Pinkie would still have only been able to do one fun thing and then only heard about the other things from the other Pinkies. Each Pinkie is still confronted with making her own choice.

Everypony wants to maximize their own fun
1000px-Pinkie_seeing_what_her_clones_are_doing_S3E03

Even in a rich, leisurely society like Equestria, there is still scarcity. Ponies still have to make choices based on the subjective value of various alteratives and economic reasoning still applies.

Further Reading
Cost and Choice
My article on Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000
Action and Choice

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