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The Misfortune of being Fortunate

January 20th, 2008 · No Comments

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Today’s world is one that necessitates the full exploitation of the senses. Food, entertainment, religion, transportation, etc. – everything now involves the maximum use of everything possible.

Some (negative) examples below:

  • Virtue has almost no value
  • Everyone has the right to do everything, but no one needs the “license”
  • Being moderate is considered bad
  • We encourage conformism for bad habits, but discourage them for good habits (examples listed below)
    • Not drinking alcohol is frowned upon, as drinking is “normal”
    • Being unwilling to partake in risky behavior makes you “weak” (exceptions noted)
    • Not cursing is irregular
    • etc.

Economics is the all about opportunity cost. If I do *X*, how will I benefit, how will I be adversely affected? There are three major assumptions that exists in basic economical theory

  1. People have rational preferences among outcomes that can be identified and associated with a value.
  2. Individuals maximize utility and firms maximize profits.
  3. People act independently on the basis of full and relevant information.

The first part I always seem to have a problem with. Short term gain always seems to take precedent over long term effects. People operate in an extremely irrational manner, making decisions because the perceived impact is lower than the actual impact. Add to that a reduction in the amount of “shame” society in general now has (the shame that was once associated with drug/alcohol abuse, promiscuity, etc. among other unethical/immoral behaviors). Beyond that, the repercussions of actions are then minimized by the introduction of laws that are supposed to cover every minute detail of life (creating definitions for everything). Not only are people not ashamed of their actions, but often, the law has stepped in to define what people can and can not seek recourse from.

The third rule also seems to lacking in today’s world. With the amount of information that exists, there seems to be a sufficient amount of misinformation to supplement and counter the information, and plenty of people appear to be making decisions on the misinformation that exists.

The idea of moderation is on the brink of extinction. Being humble, or getting by on a reasonable lifestyle, is no longer acceptable. Life is about exploitation of the senses and constant self indulgence.

Tags: Conversations · Life · Thoughts

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