The Mont-Blanc mountain and summit are seen from Emosson, Switzerland August 9, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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Like many others, I was shocked by recent images showing the size of the queue that formed in May to scale Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, from the Nepalese side.Beyond specific conditions such as the narrowness of the trail, Everest's overcrowding problem is not so different from many other economic and social challenges that policymakers confront, namely an imbalance between supply and demand, and possibly poor regulation. One example, of special concern to me, is the market for antibiotics, which is failing because the development of new drugs is not keeping pace with demand. When it comes to Everest, part of the problem is a fixed supply. Given this, it stands to reason that the price should be allowed to rise until the balance between supply and demand is restored.The same fixed-supply problem applies to all tourist hotspots.While imposing a much higher cost might solve the problem in wealthy societies, it would compound the problem of access across vast parts of the emerging world.
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