I hear this often, in reference to a shop owner who keeps a low-traffic shop open in a high-traffic area. People say, "He must own the building, otherwise he couldn't afford the rent!"
It's the economic fallacy of confusing money costs with real (opportunity) costs. It doesn't matter whether or not the man owns the building -- it's costing him just as much to run the business there either way. Let's say he's making $1500 a month in a site that could (or does) rent for $2500. I f he rents he is obviously losing $1000 per month. But if he owns, he could rent the space for $2500 instead of drawing $1500 profit from it -- for a loss of $1000! It's the same result.
The truth behind this mis-perception is that to subsidize a money-losing business takes some wealth -- and owning a building is one form that wealth could take. Additionally, the building owner may be able to hide his loss from himself" more easily than most -- the $2500 he could have gotten doesn't show up on his books anywhere.
"If your approach to mathematics is mechanical not mystical, you're not going to go anywhere." -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb
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