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Home | Blog | Time Preference and the Mayan Calendar

Time Preference and the Mayan Calendar

From Rothbard's, Man, Economy, and State:
"There are other elements that enter into the determination of the time-preference schedules. Suppose, for example, that people were certain that the world would end on a definite date in the near future. What would happen to time preferences and to the rate of interest? Men would then stop providing for future needs and stop investing in all processes of production longer than the shortest. Future goods would become almost valueless compared to present goods, time preferences for present goods would zoom, and the pure interest rate would rise almost to infinity."
From recent news:
"A Hong Kong man who formerly worked in the information technology sector is preparing for December 21 – which the Mayan calendar had marked as Doomsday – by living it up as if there's no more tomorrow. The 40-year-old man sold his flat and possessions last June and has gone on a spending spree since, a report on Hong Kong's The Standard quoted his psychologist as saying. "He quit his job, sold his flat and traveled everywhere, eating at high-end restaurants and living in hotel rooms in anticipation of December 21," psychologist Ng Siu-sun said of the man. Ng pointed out the man isn't alone: the psychologist said he is treating up to eight other people in a similar situation."

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