By Chris | February 22, 2008
The other day I lifted weights for the first time in months. There are some tangible benefits to larger muscles. I would enjoy being able to dunk a basketball with authority. And, stronger arms would have been useful when I removed my refrigerator yesterday. However, if we are honest, looking good drives most people’s desires to tear their muscles and stress their bodies. Or perhaps more accurately, to look better than their competitors in the marriage/dating market. Working out gives me an edge over other guys, but my gain is their loss. On average, everyone wastes time and energy at the gym and ends up no better off relative to everyone else. There are definitely some positive externalities to consider. However, lifting weights seems to be a prime example of a positional good where, as I can attest, the cost is quite high.