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Airport Economics: A Demonstration of Self-Governance

Lines to the gate are governed by not a single force of institutionalized law but rather by the sum forces of self-regulating personal discretion. There needn't exist a single law enumerating the appropriate dimensions of these lines or the velocity thereof. Personal perceptions and adaptations suffice to operate these lines, and while some people may criticize these lines while they remain standing in them, some passengers have learned to maximize their relaxation and minimize their standing wait time by remaining seated at the gate, while their counterparts recognize an opportunity to invest their time in securing their respective advantages in line. When government regulates the markets, it assumes a ubiquity of preferences irrespective of extenuating circumstances or priorities. 

One might sensibly advocate on behalf of "efficiency" by suggesting a method of expedited line formation and processing. In order to accomplish this end, force or protracted conditioning, the latter of which would likely still require force, would become necessary, as revealed by the consistent revelation of sum preferences at gates. At what expense might this measure of "efficiency" be attained? One might suggest employing a line liaison to limit access to the line, categorizing passengers by groups. This has already been accomplished by the airline business. Next, one might recommend a liaison who requires passengers to show boarding passes before entering the line, and who ushers them through the line if failing to sustain optimal velocity, however arbitrarily that could ever be defined. That liaison could restrict the movement of passengers in the line, refusing their departure from the line after they have been admitted entrance. 


My personal experience shows that passengers are usually holding their boarding passes by the time they have entered the line, rendering this process superfluous. They typically have their own reasons, however seemingly trivial, for walking at whatever pace or for deviating from the line's predetermined pattern of spacing or linear formation. They also hold personal reasons for entering and departing the line, and the reasons for these actions and those aforementioned might be related to a myriad of possible medical conditions, traumatic experiences, forgotten property, or limitless idiosyncratic human behaviors. In the end, the individual is his own best advocate and governor. It is even possible that the force required to eliminate disruptions to this ill-defined style of "efficiency" would measurably increase costs by employing liaisons or, let's venture into the seemingly absurd, establishing credit-checking institutions which assign values to passengers based upon line performance history. 

These measures of forcible removal could likely even reduce the velocity of the line, outstripping the costs imposed by a passenger merely fumbling with his luggage and straddling a position between the line and standby, all while spontaneously diminishing the value of the overall travel experience. So, at what expense might these lines become more "efficient"? In this case, it seems possible only through an imposition of further costs or by a suspension of liberty and respect for the uniqueness of human life. 

Some who are reading this might contend that this is a silly economic survey of human behavior, but this is precisely what government does when it legislates to advance platitudinous causes under the name of universal or common good, such as the livable wage, affordable housing and education, inflation targeting, health and safety, national defense, supplemental income, equitable distribution of wealth, minority rights, and equality. Government is able to advertise this end only at the guaranteed expense of the individual and his vast, unique, complex, and incalculable preferences in life.

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