The deadweight loss of Bakra Eid

The gift giving season which is Christmas is just around the corner, and once again billions of dollars are going to waste:

bq. in general, people spend a lot more on presents than they’re worth to those who receive them, a phenomenon called “the deadweight loss of Christmas.” A deadweight loss is created when you spend eighty dollars to give me a sweater that I would spend only sixty-five dollars to buy myself.

The full paper “The deadweight loss of Christmas”: – is a short, and interesting read.

While economists estimate that up to a third of the value of gifts exchanged at Christmas is lost, as the receivers value the gifts lower than what the giver bought them for, Bakra Eid is a bit like Christmas where everyone buys and receives the same gift – meat!

While there are other, non-economic benefits to the production and giving of the traditional Bakra Eid gifts, as an economic activity Bakra Eid is more akin to the Titanic, with all the hard work and effort required to save up a 100 billion rupees wrecked, with a few hardy survivors gobbling down their gifts, and the vast majority seeing all their hard earned cash slaughtered, with a few choice pieces of meat left at the end.

Bakra feeding and slaughter lends itself to economies of scale, so besides the estimated 100 billion rupee direct cost of Bakra Eid, there is also the extra cost of the vast inefficiency introduced into the Pakistani slaughter system, where instead of slaughtering the millions of animals at slaughter houses, they’re first trucked around the country, than extra feed is trucked once again after them – and much of that feed is wasted – as the once a year bakra killers tend to over estimate the feed requirements of their soon to be dead bakra.

The slaughter operation itself is wasteful, despite the protestations of would be skilled killers of animals, many of whom are not as skilled as they delude themselves to be. The economic loss aside of the meat spoiled because of bad skills, there is the further issue of “animal cruelty”: – leaving aside the fact that killing animals is bad enough, what about the extra suffering the animals endure, which could be avoided with better techniques? Ironically, the reason for which these animals are killed, Islam, itself prohibits needless cruelty to animals.

The economic lost suffered due to the 3 days of pre-slaughter, slaughter, and distribution of slaughter is staggering, with vast labour inefficiencies, as the whole country screeches to a halt.

Update: Some TV channel estimated the cost of the 2010 eid to be a hair over $3 billion US dollars, with 7.5 million animals slaughered

5 thoughts on “The deadweight loss of Bakra Eid”

  1. There is a different way to look at this. Almost a 100 billion rupees are transferred into the rural economy and a lot of meat is given away as charity to those who otherwise couldn’t afford it and remain malnourished. Sure there is inefficiency in a number of areas, but they can be overcome. The inefficiency has nothing to do with Eid and-ul-Adha as per se.

  2. The point is, a 100 billion rupees of meat is wasted – Yes, the poor could do with a 100 billion rupees of meat – but it’s wasted when it all arrives in one go. That much meat over a period of time would help with nutrition, but in one ago it doesn’t do much good except let people overeat over eid. Nutritional science and biology tells us that gorging for a couple of days doesn’t do much for nutrition, and can even be harmful.

    Far as transferring the money to rural areas go – I’m sure some of the money does do some net good, but the point is that most if goes to waste.

    The inefficiencies don’t have much to do with eid, but neither does the extent of the slaughter.

  3. FACTS:

    1) There are no storage facilities for long term storage of meat meaning fridge and freezer so its out of question for poor to store meat for long term provide if this meat gets to them.

    2) I personally don’t eat RED MEAT in pakistan for at least 3 months from BAKRA EID on ’cause I am pretty sure any RED MEAT ordered in BAR BQ TONIGHT or in other FANCY RESTAURANT would be of QURBANI as it is a said fact that majority of this meat is bought back from poor (or they sell it to make money) in very cheap price by restaurant people.

    3) You got charities those who take money in lump sum from people to do qurbani in ther names specially from overseas Pakistanis in dollars and pounds we all very well know how many qurbanis are done and where the money goes, you have to see local pakistani newspapers of USA, Canada and Britain ADS around BAKRA EID, what a scam.

    4) I read some remark about money going to inner pakistans rural economy, eistien it takes about 5 thosand for metric and 8 thousand for inter including fees and books for one year to educate someone. educate rural pakistan they’l will automatically creat 1000 times more money with their education than you bakra charity money could ever help them idiot.

  4. @ BAKRA EID

    Go FUCK yourself MORON.

    Livestock is the largest sub-sector within Agriculture, standing at 800 billion rupees.If we take 100 billion rupees to be the amount spent on Bakra Eid, it thus composes a large chunk of the agriculture sector and thus the amount being transferred in the local economy.

    As far as giving meat in charity is concerned, I have already said that there are a lot of inefficiencies. Are you saying that Bakra Eid with all its social, religious and cultural significance should not be celebrated because we fail to save all the meat and other accessories?

    The key is to develop the infrastructure including slaughter houses, efficient transfer, storage and use of meat and other accessories.

    When it comes to the argument of education, you need to remember that the size of Pakistani economy is greater than 8,700 billion rupees. You could go around pointing at any and every part of that expenditure as being less efficient than providing education.

    Finally, learn to type correctly.

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