Time and Risk
No matter what it is that people want, it sometimes seems that there is inevitably a market for it. Got an old cell phone you want to unload but don’t want to haggle? Done . Interested in a paternity test but don’t want to go to a doctor to get one? Get it from the paternity testing truck . Got a rambunctious cat but are too frail or otherwise unwilling to corral it yourself? There is someone in New York who will, for a fee of course, do it for you. So perhaps we should not be surprised that there are extensive markets that allow people to engage in trade across time. Such markets, which are among the oldest in continuous existence, sprout up because people with different goals in certain circumstances find it worthwhile to forgo using their resources now or to acquire the use of resources now that they don’t currently possess. To understand how some of these markets function, this chapter discusses the ideas of investment, trading across time, attitudes of individuals toward risk, and the markets that these opportunities and attitudes generate.