March 26th, 2008


Economic Illiteracy

I am dealing with an economic illiterate today. Eventually I will get tired of it and stop answering. After all, it's like teaching a pig to sing.

Specifically, the discussion was over variable and fixed costs of a convention membership. Variable costs are those that directly vary with the membership. You sell more memberships, you need more program books. Fixed costs are those that don't change, or don't change much within the range of anticipated attendance. The cost of renting your function space is fixed unless your membership count changes radically. The cost of annual filing fees for your non-profit corporation are fixed no matter what.

I responded to someone who started getting into fine-grain discussion of how much per member (in variable costs) computers for registration or other pieces of the convention cost. You're misleading yourself if you pretend that such fixed costs are variable. If you sell one more membership, you do not go buy twenty-five cents' worth of computers.

Anything in excess of the variable cost of servicing a membership goes toward paying the fixed overhead costs. That's elementary business economics. Trying somehow "allocate" overhead so that ever member is responsible for renting 1.37 folding chairs is a foolish exercise.

Another Take on the Why-Should-I-Have-to-Pay-to-Vote Question

I've now seen and replied to a suggestion that we rename the current "supporting membership" to "WSFS membership" in order to more clearly identify why you have to buy it in order to vote for awards sanctioned by WSFS. There are some good points made, although I'm unsure if just changing the name would actually get the point across to people who don't think paying anything to vote is fair.

I'm going to disable comments on this entry because if you have an opinion about it, you should take it over there.
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Conrunner Kevin

Health Update

I stopped by the lab this morning to give a blood sample for my quarterly diabetes check-up scheduled for next week. The results are in already.

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That's a warning sign. I need to get back to walking more often and watch how much I eat more carefully.