Although many have linked to my post, only Ghetner seems to have understood my argument that breast implants create a net negative for society. He compares it to the problem of people standing up at a concert:
This is a familiar problem in economics and in everyday life. It happens everytime we go to a concert or a sports arena. Inevitably, someone stands up to get a better view. But this blocks the view of the people in the row behind, so they stand up as well. Pretty soon, the entire stadium is standing to get a better view, even though we would be better off if we all sat down instead. (Same view, less leg strain)
Ghertner also makes a comment I'd like to respond to:
Women get breast implants not merely to attract men, although that may partially explain some women’s motivation. Rather, most women say that they get implants to increase their own self-esteem.
I'm sure women pretend it's about "self-esteem" because it's a politically correct answer. Just like people say they go to the gym for the "health" benefits, when in reality people go to the gym to improve their physical appearance. I shamelessly admit that I go to the gym to have a better looking body and not for the health benefits. But at least going to the gym might provide some health benefits. Unless the gym-goer is enhancing his results with steroids, in which case he'd probably be healthier just sitting home and watching TV.
If women with breast implants have higher "self-esteem," it's only at the expense of other womens' self-esteem which surely goes down when their breasts become smaller when compared with surgically augmented women.
Going back to steroids, they're comparable to breast augmentation surgery. Steroids give the user a short-term advantage of bigger muscles at the expense of long-term health problems (and premature baldness). This is why society has chosen to ban steroid use for muscle building purposes. But despite the ban, there exists a thriving black market.
Why is breast augmentation surgery treated differently than steroids? Probably because these rules are made by men--old out of shape skinny men who do not want other men building bigger muscles making themselves seem even scrawnier by comparison. But they don't mind if womens' breasts get bigger. They probably get excited thinking about it.
(For the record, I think that out of shape skinny men are cute too, especially if they're smart, libertarian and rich!)
Another on topic post by Patri Friedman of Catallarchy. Because Catallarchy seems like an excellent blog, full of free-market goodness, I added them to my blogroll.