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MacFreedom is an application that disables network connection for a period of up to eight hours. Actually it doesn’t mean you absolutely can’t restore the connection if you really must check on facebook what your elementary school classmate had for lunch yesterday, but you do have to restart your computer for that. So by using Freedom you force yourself to exert some effort in order to browse around. Therefore you are less likely to actually do it, and you can spend your time more productively on your tenure package research.

Economists sometimes talk about `multiple selves’ model. I never actually managed to get through a behavioral econ paper, but I think it goes something like this: There are two Erans. A sophisticated, long term planning `E1′ and a lazy, self-serving, easily tempted `E2′. As long as they (that is to say, I) are planning to do stuff, E1 is in charge. But when I actually sit down in front of my laptop to read Blograshevski et al. Econometrica 1974 `The multiple selves model in a dynamic multi-valued auction with hyperbolic discounting’, E2 takes control. Since E1 is sophisticated, he uses Freedom to disconnect from the universe for sixty minutes just before E2 arrives, so that E2 will have to pay the cost of rebooting before he can delve into the blogosphere. Presumably, between Blograshevski and rebooting, E2 might actually prefer Blograshevski.

Well, this used worked for me: I have Freedom to thank for some of the few papers that I actually managed to read or write. But here enters another, less abstract, economic idea — if E1 benefits from using Freedom, then he should actually be willing to pay for it ! Indeed, Freedom started as a freeware, then a donationware, and now it costs $10.

The economic reasoning does not work on this particular E1 though. Sorry, but paying for internet and then paying again for not being able to use the internet is just too humiliating, selves or no selves. As somebody mentioned, the next thing you know credit card issuers will ask E1 to pay fee for the service of increasing E2’s over-the-credit-limit fee.

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