An anecdote about allocating resources by means other than prices:
Since I am moving to Ghana, I am trying to get rid of my furniture so that the roommate who is replacing me will have space to move her stuff in. I got the furniture for free, and as far as I was concerned at this point, it had negative utility-- meaning it was a market "bad", not a market good; I would have been willing to pay someone to make it disappear for me.
As such, I placed an ad on Craigslist for free furniture, available to anyone who would come by and pick up the stuff. I was surprised at the response: I posted the ad at 11pm, and by 9:00 the next morning I had 15 responses from people who wanted the furniture.
I ended up allocating the furniture on a first come, first served basis, but the economist on my shoulder is giving me the evil eye and telling me that it would have been more fair to use prices-- by charging for the furniture, I would have allocated it to people who valued it more greatly.
I have worked in economic policy and research in Washington, D.C. and Ghana. My husband and I recently moved to Guyana, where I am working for the Ministry of Finance. I like riding motorcycle, outdoor sports, foreign currencies, capybaras, and having opinions.