The sad saga of zero marginal product workers

One of the largest private organizations in the world dedicated to caring for former racehorses has been so slow or delinquent in paying for the upkeep of the more than 1,000 horses under its care that scores have wound up starved and neglected, some fatally, according to interviews and inspection reports.

Here is the full story.


A very sad story indeed.

Clearly a market failure. Cost of retirement should be factored into the cost of racing. Some percentage of each Winner's Purse should be set aside for this very purpose.

Legalize horse-slaughter maybe?

The vast majority of libertarian literature suggests private charities like this instead of public redistribution for the sick and elderly. Caring for the sick and elderly is also "zero marginal product" as Tyler euphemizes.

They ought to have their noses rubbed in it, or be subjected to it themselves.

Oh, and this is hardly an isolated instance of a private/NGO charity doing wretchedly poor work.

Building effective charitable institutions is not simply a matter of private entrepreneurship. It requires public oversight with teeth enough to defeat abuses of power. Else we end up with more pedophilic and other scandals.

Say, Mike, if you prefer public oversight of charities, what would you NOT like to see under government supervision?

I thought there is already public oversight of charitable institutions.


Profs. Cowen and Tabarrok, you should seriously consider an anti-spam plugin for your comments section.

Mike Huben, at least this charity will die if it continues to go on like this.
Most gov programs, sadly, will not.

Get with the modern solution!
Ban thoroughbred horse racing. End of "problem" of former racehorses.
Sport of kings, indeed - we ain't got no stinkin' kings.
That was easy.

I thought this post was going to be about tenured university professors... :)

@Ben: At least horses have a positive marginal product post mortem (meat). :)

*zero marginal product slaves.

If we're applying the terminology used for their nearest human counterparts. The horses aren't willing contractors and nor are they paid for their work. They are provided with what they need to survive and continue producing, and are not free to leave.

Ban the 'sport' and let the jockeys whip each other, instead.


There is an audience for that sort of thing, but I think it's smaller than the audience for horse racing.

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