Sunday, August 2, 2009

Companies Tony Loves: Extreme Makeover Home Edition

On account of illness or a bad economy or a natural disaster, people can experience real hardship. There are always deserving families who had bad luck who could use a helping hand. Most people derive value from knowing that such deserving families were given a helping hand.

At the same time, it's often difficult for any single person to get the motivation to help a family or a community out. That's because it takes hard work to lend a helping hand. At the same time, we still get to know that the family was helped out if someone else does the heavy lifting.

In economic terminology, "giving a deserving family a helping hand" is a public good. And, as I discussed in my Chicago fireworks article, public goods are notoriously difficult to provide. On account of seeing this problem, some would immediately advocate involving the government, but this week's Company I Love gets around the public good problem with no government help needed.

In honor of Free Week, today's Company I Love is a company that gives away free home makeovers to deserving families. That's right. This week I'm loving on the television show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

If you haven't seen the show before, each episode focuses on the story of one family that could use some help improving their living conditions. Families featured on the show have inspirational stories or have experienced a great hardship that they're struggling to overcome. They're families that any reasonable person would want to help.

Each episode begins by chronicling the family's story and meeting the family. Headed by Ty Pennington, the show's team and an army of local contractors undertake a complete demolition and rebuilding of the family's house. While the house is under construction, the family gets to go on an amazing vacation.

Sometimes the designs are over the top. Sometimes the materials are expensive. Sometimes the family cries on television. But, it is amazing how much one crew, spurred on by the purposeful willpower of pleasing a national television audience, can accomplish in a week.

From an economic standpoint, it's inspiring that the television show spectacularly provides the public good of lending a needy family a helping hand. On account of a national television audience and eager advertisers, the show can make goodwill and a helping hand a profitable endeavor.

The end result is that deserving and needy families get spectacular homes, we get to know that people who deserved it were helped out, and Ty Pennington is rich and famous. I think we're all better off. Now, that's a reason to give Extreme Makeover: Home Edition your love.

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