May 222012
 

Parking meter design by BZTATA parking spot that is 12 feet wide and 23 feet long can be leased in New York City for one million dollars.

A spot on my street costs you seventy five cents an hour, unless you go on the other side of the street, where it is seventy five cents for ten hours.

Those spots are for the employees of the call center that moved in across the street.

Parking is free at the WalMart a couple of miles away deep in the urban sprawl of Canton, OH.

Why such disparity in cost for the same sized span of asphalt in different places?

Hmmm.

We spend money in ways that sometimes make sense. We spend to purchase sustenance goods and other items to maintain our daily lives. We spend for convenience; entertainment; status; and access. Our willingness to pay certain costs are determined by many factors, but mostly by what a seller can get for a product/service.

Certainly, a parking spot in New York City is more valuable than in Canton, because people are willing to pay more in New York City, because, well, it’s New York City, and it is harder to find a spot there, right?

Yet it is still just a span of asphalt that you are leasing for a moment in time. Perhaps you are leasing the time, not the asphalt.

A million dollar spot gives you the same asphalt.

Sure it is in New York City and inside a luxury condo, where you have secret access as if you were Batman. But still, it is time and space you are leasing. And asphalt.

You could buy a Damien Hirst artwork for millions, and rub elbows with the artistic elite at some of the more trendy galleries and auction houses.

Or you could buy a painting from a local artist with less acumen for manipulating the art market. If you enjoy the art, does it matter?

Either way you could be just leasing space, and time.

Enjoy your treasures today. Tomorrow’s art could be in a yard sale, while the asphalt is going for top rate.

Or not.

What is the difference?

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