Monday, January 25, 2010

Outsourcing and the Pinewood Derby

If you have heard of the Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts, you've probably heard of the Pinewood Derby. It's one of the major events of the year for Cub Scouts, and it involves model wooden cars racing down a sloped track of around 30 feet. According to Wikipedia, "Cub Scouts, with the help of parents, build their own cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine, plastic wheels and metal axles."

Having attended my first Pinewood Derby this past weekend, I can tell you that economic principles are alive and well in the world of Pinewood Derby. Obviously, not every Cub Scout (even with the help of parents) is going to be particularly skilled in building a car from a wooden block and other spare parts. So, what do you do when someone else can do a job better or more cheaply than you? Outsource! I was impressed to learn of the number of companies offering plans, supplies, and even completed cars to potential racers (just do a Google search on "Pinewood derby"). I think the Cub Scouts should offer an economics badge to Scouts who show the most proficiency in outsourcing production of their cars.

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