(Sorry for the extended radio silence)
I’m probably still missing something, but ISTM that you are reading too much in my actual payment:
Based on your breakdown… I can guess that you need more econ stories and cat stories in your life… but you need a lot more econ stories than cat stories.
Say I buy a copy of The Economist at $5. Does that mean that I need more copies of The Economist? I don’t think so. Even if I am perfectly happy with that one copy of the ‘newspaper’ (as they like to call themselves :-), and if I have no need for any other publication (since I have no time to read more than one), I am still prepared to pay that $5 because I consider that it provides me with at least $5.
With the pragmatarian model, subscribers could divvy up their $10/month fees among the different books.
So far so good. My motivation of doing so is determined by the relative perceived value I obtain from the different books — not necessarily by any further need beyond the current supply. And that applies equally well when we start to add other goods and services to the offer.
There’s no reason that food can’t be a public good… as long as taxpayers can choose where their taxes go.
I have a feeling we’re drifting into a new direction now (but no less interesting!). The problem with food as a public good is that it may not meet the complex set of preferences of the tax payers. (That is probably a problem with all public goods, but I suspect that the spectrum of taxpayers’ preferences for many of the actual extant public goods is not particularly wide, and that preferences are not particularly strong.)
Returning to the main points, I don’t feel you’ve fully responded to these two:
- when there is a willingness to pay, there has to be a corresponding willingness to accept
- actual payment does not necessarily signal additional demand
Over to you again!