by Gene Callahan
I’m writing from Zurich with two queries:
1) Having just paid about $4.50 at a tacky cafe for the smallest cup of coffee I’ve ever had, and $20.00 for the smallest can of spray for athlete’s foot that I’ve ever seen, I wonder, does anyone understand how these prices are sustainable? I feel like I could fly back to the US, load up a suitcase with anti-fungal spray, fly back, and make a profit re-selling it here. And don’t they make pharamceuticals here in the first place?! Does the law of one price not apply to Switzerland?
2) Driving through the airport on the way here, I passed under a sign reading ‘Use Both Lanes.’ It struck me as a misguided directive, for to whom is it directed? It isn’t helpful or even legal for the individual driver to ‘use both lanes,’ so apparently it is directed to the collectivity of drivers passing under the sign. But this collectivity has no decision making power: only individual drivers can decide to use one lane or the other, but no one whatsoever has the power to decide ‘Let the drivers evenly distribute themselves amongst the two available lanes’ — which is clearly the aim of the sign. The sign strikes me as a case of mistaking a spontaneous for a planned order.