Why is economic sense so often morally appalling? | The Institute for New Economic Thinking
On September 29, 2010, Gene Crannick’s home in Obion County, Tennessee, burned down. The Crannicks lost all of their possessions in the blaze and their pets died, but the family was unharmed. The firefighters called to put the fire out refused to fight the blaze because Gene Crannick hadn’t paid a $75 (€56) annual fee.
The tiny, rural Obion County does not have a countywide firefighting service. A private company offers coverage to rural residents for a fee. Mr Crannick hadn’t paid the fee. So they let his house burn down. In fact, the only reason the firefighters were there at all was to ensure that Mr Crannick’s neighbor’s house was unharmed. The neighbor had paid the fee.