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"OH WATERS, TEEM WITH MEDICINE TO KEEP MY BODY SAFE FROM HARM, SO THAT I MAY LONG SEE THE SUN." - Rig Veda
Donald Hall - "We Bring Democracy To The Fish"
It is unacceptable that fish prey on each other.
For their comfort and safety, we will liberate them
into fishfarms with secure, durable boundaries
that exclude predators. Our care will provide
for their liberty, health, happiness, and nutrition.
Of course all creatures need to feel useful.
At maturity the fish will discover their purposes.
Why do Burger King and McDonald’s offer indistinguishable chicken salads—often right across the street from each other? Why do Home Depot and Lowe’s outlets huddle near each other like lovelorn teenagers? Why is Coke so much like Pepsi?
They’re just obeying Hotelling’s Law. Stanford University economist Harold Hotelling posited back in 1929 that rival sellers tend to gravitate toward each other—in location, price, and product offerings—because otherwise they risk losing some of the broad mainstream of customers. In other words, if your competitor has found something that sells or a way to sell it, the easiest way to horn in on their market share is to sell the same thing in the same way.
His insight, also known as the “principle of minimum differentiation,” is still widely used by economists and often applied to politics: candidates leaning too far left or right risk losing the essential moderate vote, so both Republicans and Democrats are pulled to centrist positions.
This phenomenon, as Hotelling himself pointed out, may help sellers keep up with their competitors, but it’s not always a good thing for the general public. It means many customers have to travel farther to buy a product than they would if the stores selling it were more spread out. The law also means that products all start to look the same.
"A monk said to Joshu, “I have just entered this monastery. Please teach me.”
“Have you eaten your breakfast?” Joshu asked.
“Yes, I have,” replied the student.
“Then you had better wash your bowl.”"