Questions: The Costs of \"Voice\" and \"Exit\"

As a follow-up to Micha's post below, some questions for readers:

Suppose that as a follower of the Atkins Diet, you are dissatisfied with the dietary choices available at McDonald's. You have a certain amount of money that you want to set aside for use in attempting to meet your Atkins-centric dietary goals.

1) How would you rather spend your money?

A) By buying partial ownership of McDonald's Corporation and trying to affect management decisions.


B) By spending that same amount of money to patronize a competing fast-food restaurant.

2) Suppose you do not have option B in question 1. What percent ownership of McDonald's Corporation do you think you would require to have enough influence to change the menu of McDonald's to be more Atkins-friendly?

3) The current market capitalization of McDonald's Corporation is about $35 billion. Based on question 2, how much money do you think you need to have to be successful in your goals of changing the menu of McDonald's through partial ownership of McDonald's Corporation?

Update: Follow-up will be posted next week. Share this

Sinc you said the dietary

Sinc you said the dietary choices rather than my dietary choices I think the most cost effective option would be C.) to sue McDonalds on some knuckleheaded but trendy pretext.

1) I'm a huge fan of option

1) I'm a huge fan of option B. This question almost perfectly parallels the difference between democracy and anarcho-capitalism (which perhaps was your intention?). And most of the reasons for why ancap works better than voting apply here, ie the possibility of niche products serving a heterogenous market, and many more...

2/3) Hard to answer. Assume that the other stockholders' main desire is to make money. Therefore they will not switch their vote on the menu unless it is more profitable. Since the current menu is non-Atkins, it must be more profitable that way. So you could say that you need 51% control. This isn't quite true tho, because you could form a coalition with some other minority group and find a win-win modification. This gets into the realm of cooperative game theory, and since it was too tough for von Neumann its too tough for me...

The only way I can see a small %age helping is by assuming major irrationalities on the part of the business. Ie with your small %age you can make the rest of the stockholders aware of the option to add some Atkins choices, which they would not have known about / taken seriously if not suggested by a stockholder. This seems real flimsy.

Seems like it would take billions to change things this way. A more effective way to use those billions would be to found a low-carb fast food chain, which if successful would make McD's likely to add items to keep your niche from eroding their market share.

Patri, that's what I thought

Patri, that's what I thought as well - a parable on anarchocapitalism and democracy.

Patri- I like your answer.

I like your answer. A person would likely need to control over 50% of the corporation to have any assurance of making any significant changes to the menu with reasonable success.

At my local McDonald's I can

At my local McDonald's I can order a salad with "grilled" chicken on top and a bottle of water. In fact, I've had this for lunch several times. While I do think some of the marinara for the grilled chicken is sugar (more likely corn syrup), the number of carbs is negligible. The only problem is that it's absolutely loaded with salt. I whip through the bottle of water in no time flat and usually buy one to go.

ObTopic: Where I think the analogy fails is in ignoring the special nature of what the state does in the ideal. To purchase or not to purchase a burger is trivial. When we're talking about catching murderers and thieves - people that are not customers in any sense - we've moved onto a more difficult set of problems. I think they're solvable, which is why I'm a market anarchist and not a minarchist, but they're substiantially more complicated and more important than lunch.

- Josh