The Power of Independent Thinking

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Muhammad Ali Defeated a Lot of Opponents. He Cannot, However, Defeat the Laws of Supply and Demand.

ESPN is reporting there’s outrage among some observers that people are scalping their “free” tickets to Ali’s memorial service in Louisville. Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch, there’s no such thing as a free ticket to a memorial service.

ESPN quotes several people who disapprove of the buying and selling, including an Ali family spokesperson who is “disgusted and amazed” by those selling tickets given that “Ali wanted this to be a free event, an event that was open to all.”

Unfortunately, it’s an event that can’t be “open to all” because the arena will only seat about 15,000 people according to ESPN. At a price of zero dollars per ticket, there are more people who want to attend than there are seats in the arena.

If people are not allowed to pay with money, they will pay with their valuable time. ESPN reports that “People started arriving outside the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville late Tuesday, hours ahead of the ticket distribution,” and the time they spent waiting in line to get tickets to the memorial service was time invested in what’s basically a resource-wasting staring contest.

Art Carden is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University’s Brock School of Business.