December 11, 2012

Quote of the Day

While chatting over coffee, a friend of The Refugee observed:

You can choose your course or action, but you can't choose the consequence of that action.
The Refugee will not provide attribution, as he's not sure the friend would want it nor if it is truly original to that friend. However, it seemed a rather profound observation that certainly applies to economics and many (perhaps all) aspects of life. Quote of the Day Posted by Boulder Refugee at December 11, 2012 12:55 PM

Hmmm. That's a little too deterministic for my liking. In this version you may choose one or the other, but not both.

My personal variation on this theme is this:

Don't take chances that have consequences which you would regret having to live with.

Like telling a friend you'll "give him twenty bucks if he can do that (throw a ringer horseshoe) again" just to prove to everyone watching that he's nothing but a lucky stiff. Dang, I'll never do that again.

Posted by: johngalt at December 11, 2012 2:37 PM

Two thoughts.

1. Mmmm coffee.

2. I dunno, bro. I think a grown up assigns a certain probability to potential consequences and assesses risk accordingly. "How did I know that lighted match was gonna start a fire?"

I have heard and frequently quote (and need someday to learn details) that Judaism requires a donor to be responsible for efficacy and consequences of charity. I like that -- I was raised on "well, you tried" if you give $500 to a junkie to pay his rent.

My problem with the quote is its seeming absolution for such an assessment -- me miss something?

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2012 2:45 PM

Missed jg's in the aether -- I think he and I may be closer on this one.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2012 2:50 PM

The Refugee is always up for coffee. We're kinda overdue.

The Refugee considers this thought in these practical contexts: you can't take out a student loan and then be angry at the bank for expecting it to be paid back; you can't tax producers and fail to recognize what causes unemployment; you can't decide to work a strict 40 hour week and then complain that you neighbor, who works 80 hours, has a larger house; you can't live on other people's money for decades and then riot when they stop giving it to you.

Just to name a few.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 11, 2012 3:51 PM

English is a tricky language. I (and, I am guessing, jg) read the exact opposite: that I am not liable for the consequences because "how are you ever going to know? You can't choose consequences..."

I assumed one of my Facebook frineds had stolen your password.

Posted by: jk at December 11, 2012 4:05 PM

And, I'm sorry jg, if you really miss the twenty that much, I'll give it back. I had no idea...

Posted by: Jk at December 12, 2012 4:16 AM

How about this then, as being more in line with BR's examples: "You can choose your course or action, but the consequences are beyond your control. If a consequence is predictable, and avoidance of it desirable, then choose accordingly."

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2012 2:26 PM | What do you think? [7]