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Tourism — a critical perspective

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Tourism — a critical perspective It may be noted in passing that essentially the same process, in which participation in an activity changes its form, occurs in tourism … The fact that some tourists are not in search of something different does not remove the anomaly. For if the increased activity of tourists at large deprives only one of their number of a satisfaction previously available, orthodox economic analysis provides no basis for judging the increase in tourism to be of net benefit. The victim has no way of indicating his valuation of the opportunity he has lost— no travel agency can provide him with a charter flight to the past …The key point is that more than a distributional issue is involved. Wider participation affects not just how much

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Tourism — a critical perspective

Tourism — a critical perspectiveIt may be noted in passing that essentially the same process, in which participation in an activity changes its form, occurs in tourism … The fact that some tourists are not in search of something different does not remove the anomaly. For if the increased activity of tourists at large deprives only one of their number of a satisfaction previously available, orthodox economic analysis provides no basis for judging the increase in tourism to be of net benefit. The victim has no way of indicating his valuation of the opportunity he has lost— no travel agency can provide him with a charter flight to the past …The key point is that more than a distributional issue is involved. Wider participation affects not just how much different participants get out of the game, but changes the game itself. It changes the set of choices available to all.

So the choice made by each individual in a piecemeal way ceases to be a valid guide to what individuals would choose if they could see the results of their choices along with other peoples’ choices. Suppose everyone spoils it a bit for everyone else. Without mutual coordination, the best tactic for every isolated individual will be to rush in before others have spoiled it even more. Each individual might nonetheless prefer a regime in which all agreed to hold back, and in which no one had the “freedom” to renege on such agreement.

Lars Pålsson Syll
Professor at Malmö University. Primary research interest - the philosophy, history and methodology of economics.

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