Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Asymmetric Information on the Croft

Economists talk about "asymmetric information", where the two parties to a transaction have different information. The classic case was selling a used car--where the owner knows how good it is or isn't, but the buyer can't tell.

Musings from a STonehead, the small farmer/pig grower in Scotland, runs into a case of that. He knows his product, but his potential customers often don't know pigs from pokes. As he writes:

The typical customer wants a fantasy, a lifestyle statement, a “product” that says something about them, and they want it now because that’s the fantasy of the moment.

They have an image of themselves as a “modern urban farmer”, as a “saviour of rare breeds”, as someone capturing “the good life”, of being a “modern smallholder”, of joining the ranks of “celebrity pig keepers”, showing their “anti-supermarket” credentials, and so on.

Certainly, we do have people that come to us with a genuine, practical, reality based desire to fatten a couple of pigs but they are in the minority.

But I also know from talking to the wide array of people that come to us, that the real motivation for buying pigs is to “live the dream”, just as it is for buying any other consumer item.

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