"all things in existence are physiologically connected"

Archive for Social Normative

Cash Cab Economics

Markets stifle human potential. Markets force the individual to assume one of the two position types available, 1) absolute losers 2) potential winners. The objective of the first is to participate in a uniformed manner that is representative of the social normative. The objective of the second is to participate in a rouge manner, aside from the societal norms that prevent transformative situational opportunities. Further, the ideal type criterion differ between type one and type two. It is important to note that the criterion is vaguely different. Type’s one and two are simply human beings with able physical characteristics. The difference between the two is the amount of exposure to the harsh economic realities that markets present. Type one and two do not necessarily learn differently, but they are taught different things. Type one thinks that, and wants to, know how to play the game and be safe. While type two is shooting for the stars because the odds for winning are, regardless of how high or low, more satisfactory than playing the game of Type one.

I had the opportunity to have this conversation with a room of working-class professionals in various industries and perceived income brackets, and while trying to find an analogy to exploit the actions of the type’s one and two – everyone recommended a lottery scenario where type one doesn’t play and type two does. I found this to be the most intriguing part of the night, because they didn’t realize who they were. I was in a room full of type one individuals. Not only did they misunderstand their position in the market of human capital, but they didn’t understand the concept of lotto versus risk and reward. Per the latter, lottery is a tax for people that don’t understand statistics well. The odds are negligible. The law of large numbers makes risk an irrelevant ideal in the context of lotto because with every participant entry, the chances of winning converge to zero. So, this scenario could not have help to elaborate on the concept of type one and type two individuals at all. I also realized that the people in the room thought of themselves type two risk takers.

Later that evening when I arrived at home I watched Cash Cab, as I often do when I get a chance. The taxi game show is the perfect analogy for type one and type two people to discover themselves. Ironically, it is on the discovery channel. What happens when we get into the Cash Cab? The steps are important:

  • Enter the cab expecting to pay for the ride
  • Realize you’ll get at least some of the travel distance at no direct cost
  • Realize that you can make money during the travel distance
  • Ambitiously try and accumulate as much money as possible
  • Accumulate a substantial sum of money during the traveled distance
  • If you travel the entire distance a question is posed to either accumulate double the monetary value or lose everything

The difference in type one and type two decision makers is apparent at this point on Cash Cab. Two indirectly philosophical questions are posed to the decision maker, but only one can be answered.

  1. Question: Is the final Cash Cab question an opportunity or too high of a risk?
  2. Question: What position did you start in?

If the traveler is spending time answering the first question, then they are a type one individual. If the traveler answers the second question, then they are a type two, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a potential winner. The correct answer to the second question is: below zero. The traveler would actually pay for this trip, making it a negative value. In the Cash Cab scenario there are no risks, only rewards. The truth is that everyone in the Cash Cab is only a potential winner, at best. Those who have accumulated some substantial value in the market of human capital will never have the time to ride in the Cash Cab. Similar to the socio-economic existence of the relatively poor, when one starts from below zero, it is impossible to make decisions that are too risky, as the market is catering to every individual to be type one…simply because type two individuals are potentially too expensive.

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