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Everyone has the wish “to do something good for society”. Meanwhile, most of us may feel like taking an easier way or getting a cheaper price. Although both are our honest feelings, the feeling of seeking an easy and cheaper way is more likely to appear in our behavior.
At the same time, we may need a good reason for paying for a product or service, but complicated pricing plans and new charging systems often confuse us regarding how much we are actually paying.
By connecting both wishes—“to do something good for society” and “make a reasonable payment”—in an acceptable manner, it may become easier to gradually accumulate “behavior good for society and for ourselves.”
What we are proposing is a concept where the prices of goods and services change according to time and behavior, thereby allowing us to connect a variety of different services. Practical examples are given below. These ideas are intended to make consumers focus on the meaning of the changing prices of goods that would otherwise be selected unconsciously for no reason. As a result, consumers may change their ways of choosing products and services by understanding the meaning of price. By accumulating the subtle changes in consumer selections, we can gradually resolve social problems.
Consumers are more likely to buy perishable food with a longer shelf life as long as the price is the same. As a result, products with the shortest shelf life will remain on the shelf, and eventually be discarded. Can we change the way consumers choose food by gradually decreasing prices as the expiry dates get closer?
For example, consumers who use up milk in two days may choose a cheaper one, while consumers who use up milk in a week may choose a more expensive one. Instead of a one-time large discount, a gradual decrease in prices may encourage consumers to choose a price suitable for their manner of use, and could result in less food that would otherwise end up being discarded.
Different services with the same purpose from the standpoint of consumers may be utilized more efficiently, provided that consumers are able to notice the connection through changing prices.
For example, a sports gym and health food that are used for the same purpose of promoting “health” can be connected by changing the price of health food according to the level of exercise in the gym. Linking occasional exercise at a gym with the price of products that we see every day may largely change the motivation for using the service. If such a change leads to better health for many of us, medical expenses in the entire society could be reduced.
What if the way of connecting services by changing the price is adopted for public infrastructure such as roads?
For example, when a business operator is planning an event and requests to keep a road open from traffic congestion, a driver responds to the request by making a detour and getting cheaper gasoline. In this way, the request, behavior and price are linked.
When one business operator wants to block off a road for event or other reasons, and another business operator wants to increase the number of users by offering such incentives as cheaper gasoline, the driver is thus presented with an option to choose between each business operator’s request.
As shown in this example, traffic congestion can be mitigated in a natural way while making people feel comfortable about their choices. Such a strategy could also make the community more comfortable to live in.