Perfection Is A Dumb Goal

I know of no form of perfection that works if you assessĀ  both costs and benefits.

The Pareto Principle

I have often talked about the Pareto Principle. The idea that you can get 80% of the result with 20% of the input. Talking that further you can get 80% of what remains with 20% of that input. The problem is the total input for the second stage is far greater (let’s call it 2x) than it was for the first part. The third stage works the same way. Again at double the cost of the previous step.

The question becomes how close to 100% do you want to get? The answer can be achieved but only at infinite cost. AND it won’t stay perfect for long because circumstances change.

That’s my argument for avoiding perfection.

The resources you use in stage three and beyond are probably more usefully spent on untouched problems. Would you prefer one problem solved to 99.2% or, for the same money and effort, solve one to 96% and 4 others to 80%? Easy answer right?

Why no one in power thinks that way is unknown. With the possible exception that someone else will solve the other four problems. No credit for you there.

There is a current form of perfection we should notice.

It is zeroism

Do we want to drive deaths from Covid-19 to zero? If yes, what is the cost to go from ten or a hundred, even a thousand, deaths a month to zero. Is it worth the price of the effort?

When you decide, be sure you include the costs of the side effects. For example, in a dollar cost way, a lockdown costs nearly nothing. Might even save money, but there are dozens of unintended costs. Like depression, failing at education for some of the children, like business bankruptcy and jobs lost when you reopen, like substance abuse up to and including some deaths, suicide, spousal and child abuse.

As one theorist has pointed out, if you did an honest cost/benefit analysis you would never shut down

The Takeaway

Learn to tell when a problem is “solved enough.”

Understand that resources are limited and you need priorities

I help people have more income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call or email don@moneyfyi.com in Canada 705-927-4770

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