Markets in everything

by on November 2, 2007 at 2:39 pm in Religion | Permalink

I call this one: "Price-discriminating monopolists appeal to the weak-willed" edition.  Let’s say you want to attract the religiously minded parts of the individual.  What might your prices look like?

When Larry Pinczower switches on his cellphone, the seal of a rabbinate
council appears. Unable to send text messages, take photographs or
connect to the Internet, his phone is a religiously approved adaptation
to modernity by the ultra-Orthodox sector of Israeli life.

More than 10,000 numbers for phone sex, dating services and the like
are blocked, and rabbinical overseers ensure that the lists are up to
date. Calls to other kosher phones are less than 2 cents a minute,
compared with 9.5 cents for normal phones. But on the Sabbath any call
costs $2.44 a minute, a steep religious penalty.

Or maybe there is no weakness of will, but rather the high prices signal the religious loyalty of the phone owner.  Here is the full and fascinating article, and thanks to Zev for the pointer.

Why is it not $10 a minute for a call on the Sabbath?  Might too high a price signal the person is excessively weak-willed?

1 8 November 2, 2007 at 3:07 pm

I want a Kosher phone.

2 Hillrider November 2, 2007 at 4:32 pm

A variation, and no less hypocritical, than this: . And an affirmation than anything, including sin, has a price!

3 sa November 2, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Agree with Bernard Yomotov above.

4 Jared November 2, 2007 at 6:13 pm

Given that the significance of the number 666 comes from the New Testament book of Revelation, I’m not sure that such a rate would make much sense…

5 Phoebe November 2, 2007 at 9:14 pm

I’m surprised they feel the need to block 10,000 numbers for phone sex and to have “rabbinical overseers ensure that the lists are up to date”. I guess they know what they are doing, fundamentalists can be the kinkiest people.

6 Venkat November 3, 2007 at 12:40 am

You might also be interested in the paper “No More SMS from Jesus: Ubicomp, Religion and
Techno-spiritual Practices” by Genevieve Bell.

7 ema November 4, 2007 at 1:01 am

1.uhm, I keep the Sabbath, and you can bet next time I take a sabbatical in Israel I am gonna buy me a 2 cents a minute contract rather than a 9.5 cents one.
2. $2.44 is equal to 10 shekel, so it kinda IS like 10 dallars a minute.
3. Isn’t this just good bidness practice, like you economists have been tryin to teach us on this here blog?
This is just plain old differential pricing.
By bundling in a certain inconvenience( no Sabbath calls), you can offer a discount to a price sensitive market, without undermining your pricing from your primary market.

8 ALB November 4, 2007 at 10:58 am

Interesting, but I don’t understand: why are text messages problematic? Is it for reasons of temptation, or for reasons of the medium itself?

9 mnuez November 7, 2007 at 2:00 am

Krankran, can you spell c-l-i-c-h-e?

I mean SERIOUSLY, the only comment LESS substantive on this thread is this one.


10 dc March 17, 2009 at 4:12 am

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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