Monday, March 17, 2008

ECON 260: Comment Thread for 3/19

If you had one wish, what would you wish for (no wishing for other wishes)? How does your answer differ from what you might expect the typical person to wish for (if at all)?

Assuming that these wishes are magically granted, and thus not limited to the realm of current human capacity, I would chose perfect health for the rest of my life- no cancers, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, allergies, cavities etc.

I would imagine that the typical response to this question would be to ask for some sum of money- for example though winning the lottery. This was my initial thought when reading the question.

However, I feel that health cannot be bought. Yes, with money you can buy health care, but that provides no guarantee of a cure.
I also do not trust that money last. Given my knowledge of peak oil, global warming, the general current state of the US economy, and the state of international relations, I am generally pessimistic about the future of the current economic order (which is not to say that I think there will be a complete collapse, just that I think there is a good chance that tomorrow won’t continue to improve at the same rate, and that some things may get worse for many people). Given good health, I feel that I would be able to survive and continue working in whatever economic situation emerges in the future
I wish i could fly. That would be fun.
If i wanted to win Miss America, i wish for world peace, but maybe someone else can wish that, i'll have the ability of unaided flight.
I would wish for proof that a God truly existed. I am only really saying this because of my recent existential crisis. I wouldn't really imagine that anybody else would wish for this. I don't even think any other christian would wish for this. It's just that if I knew that he existed or what not, it would really change the way I live my life. It probably wouldn't affect an atheist or agnostic person, but I'll just say I'm weird and this is just the way my belief system works.
If I had one wish I think that I would wish that every single person on this planet and anyone ever born was open-minded to other people and ideas. Beinging open-minded does not mean people wouldnt have their own strong opinions, but they would be interested in learning and hearing about others. If everyone was like that, I believe there would be a lot less hate and anger in the world. Anyways I dont think other people would choose this because when you have only have one wish it is easy to want to wish for something that would only effect and be of importance to you. My wish is not to sound self righteous because I know that I am not always open-minded. So it would help me in that sense but also in the sense that I would never have to get frusterated with stubborn close-minded people again.
I think I would wish that everyone in the world had the opportunity to have a good education, now and in the future. A "good education" can mean different things to different people, but I mean an opportunity to learn in depth about the world around you and explore whatever makes you curious. I think this would turn into something along the lines of the openness that Carrie talked about. It gives people autonomy and empowerment, plus neat inventions for the rest of us.

I guess I would agree with Carrie again, that most people would probably wish for something that affects only themselves. That might be because that's what we're most interested/invested in (ourselves), or maybe because it's difficult to presume to know what would make other people happy or what's best for them.
In response to ebizeleth's post, it is interesting to think of this issue in terms of economics. It made me think of Pascal's Wager, which basically does a costs- benefits analysis. The Wager says that the expected value of believing is infinite (eternal salvation), while the possible cost of not believing (if it turns out god does exist) is also infinite. In contrast, any benefits from not believing (such as getting to enjoy certain forbidden activities) are limited to the human life span. Thus Pascal concludes that it is far better to chose to believe, and forgo small short term benefits to avoid potential eternal long term costs.

The wikipedia page:'s_Wager

actually compares the wager to the precautionary principle.
If I could wish for one thing it would be perfect happiness, for the rest of my life. I agree with Chris that most people would first wish for money, and, like Chris, I don’t believe that money can buy happiness, no matter what anyone says. This might be more controversial then the fact that money can’t buy perfect health, but I at least believe it to be true.
If I had one wish, I would also choose to wish for happiness. I find that somewhat amusing though, after the discussions that we have had in class about happiness. Since happiness is relative, I already possess the power to obtain that wish; yet I still feel that it is something just outside my reach.

Although some people may view this as a typical answer, choosing a wish that only impacts myself. However, I feel that the typical answer would be one that is extremely broad, and harder to actualize (e.g. ending world hunger, or obtaining world peace). For me to even begin to rationalize bigger issues, I feel that I need to be secure with my position in life, and that my state of mind is in a place in which I can help others, and actually be a benefit to them. It should be known, that my answer is not biased, because I do care, strongly, about the welfare of others who are less misfortunate.
I would wish for the ability to take away other people's pain. This may seem like an altruistic wish but in reality it is very selfish. What I am really wishing is that I never had to watch other people suffer,and a release from the feelings of helplessness that go along with that. If I could take away other people's pain then I would never have to feel like that and I would be a much happier person.
i really like all of these and now i want to steal them. i've been thinking about this ever since the post went up and i'm iffy but i think all i really want as sappy as it sounds is peace and equality for everybody in the world. and the plus is that i would be included. it's so tempting to choose unending wealth and while obviously money can't buy happiness i think that the reason people ask for it is tso that they could have the time and the freedom to find happiness for themselves. i mean its all about what you ideal life style is and money is a simple "one wish" wish that can help you fulfill all your wishes. like i would buy a farm somewhere in italy, raise a big family, support the rest of my existing family, start a winery and so on. ooh and i'd buy a jet. but i feel like that's too selfish and i wouldn't feel the sense of accomplishment i would feel from paying off all these student loans and making it on my own. so i would wish for world peace.
It seems like people are assuming that most people would wish for money or wealth, but I think it's clear that this isn't really what most people feel would bring them the most happiness. As Chris pointed out, given the current state of affairs, money isn't really a dependable source of wealth. It seems that people are more likely to wish for something that will have more lasting effects on society and will lead to greater opportunities for happiness. Universal open-mindedness, world peace, proof of God, all these things lead to more stability and thus a greater chance that we'll be able to generate a "happier" population overall.
You are all much better people than me, because I would wish to be able to be invisible at will, which I would exploit for my amusment and gain. I think quite a few people would, like me, wish for something self-serving (although I could totally use for the greater good). I think, like nagaem, that we wish for ourselves, not only because we are self interested, but because of an awareness that we do not know what is best, fair, or right for other people. Plus, we know very well from movies and books that these wishes are doomed to go wrong and have untold unforseen consequences.
I think, if someone were to grant me one wish at this moment, I would probably wish for the super power The Force, this or the ability to magically take on any animal/plant adaptation/trait that I wanted. I have been pondering these possibilities for a while, and I think that the only limitation to them is your own imagination. For example, I could probably achieve most of the things that other people wish for just by using the force (money, health, happiness, etc.) along with all the other super-tight stuff from the star wars movies. With the plant/animal super power I could be pretty satisfied as well (imagine the ability to photosynthesize sunlight!). Granted these are not realistic, but they come as close as possible to wishing for more wishes, which is what everyone really wants.
I'm going to go waaay juvenile with this and wish for super awsome magical powers, which would, ofcourse, include the ability to fly, be invisible, and an all time favorite, turn things into gold (although by exploiting this power i would be devaluing the worlds stock of gold), perhaps this could be broadened to include the jesus christ special: 1 fish into many fish, this would surely appease the ecologicals and the big evil power companies on the willamette, cos' we would all be able to enjoy fresh salmon, cheap hydroelectric power and not have to go cull a bunch of sealions....... Failing this a trip to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory would also suffice.
From what I learned from Dan Gilbert I wish for the ability to be completely content with my choices. Decisions and decisiveness are not things that I am very good at. It seems that from the tests given by Dan those are two things that contribute to over all happiness. (so what i am really saying is that i would want to be as happy as possible for the rest of my life, i just don't quite know how else to wish for it).

This wish is unlike how most other people would wish because I think the goal in wishing is for some sort of happiness and enjoyment. However most people think of happiness in other terms, such as more money, better material goods, better job. When in fact Dan proved those items not to be what makes a person happy.
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I would wish to have unlimited and exclusive ability to rearrange atoms into new configurations. This would mean I would be capable of turning dust to gold, and nuclear waste to stuffed bunnies. I would limit myself to not being able to bring life to any object. This would take care of wealth and health (I could turn a tumor into a benign one).

I forgot to answer the second part: how does this answer differ from the typical answer. I think the "typical" answer depends heavily on where and who you are asking. If you have money, you'd ask for health. If you had both, ask for love. I think love could be said to cross all boundaries of relativity and culture, unless you were diagnosed as a schizoid. This also depends on the definition of love. I'd go with a corinthian definition of love.
i wish leaf blowers were never invented
It is hard to say that I wouldn't wish for unlimited access to monetary and natural resources - for personal and public use. On the other hand, I also would wish for a very comfortable life style, preferably in a rural and aesthetically pleasing area. I don't think the wish for unlimited access to resources is different from what everyone talks about and tries to ensure for themselves. The whole notion of sustainability and capitalism is to make oneself better off, more wealthy, and have the greatest welfare possible. I think this is exactly what motivates a lot of my actions, and my ONE big wish!
I would wish for the heart ring from captain planet, so I could talk to plants and animals. Booya!
I would wish that all people behaved rationally, and made decisions that reflected such behavior. Everything else would follow suit.
One wish… this is an extremely hard question that I’ve been thinking about for a while and still have no conclusion. I do agree that most people probably would wish for a sum of money or a never ending supply of money. Even though money can’t buy happiness it can still make life much easier, not having to worry about bills, debt, ect. and being able to afford a nice place to live, to travel, ect. all can stimulate some sort of happiness. The money wish is tempting because you can help a lot of people with money but as Chris and Rosalie mentioned, money doesn’t last.

With one wish I would lean more towards finding a cure for diseases like cancer and Aids or wishing everyone to always be healthy and never suffer from an illness. I agree with Chris you can’t buy health and I’m surprised more haven’t touched on this issue.

I also really like Daniel’s wish for everyone to behave rationally. It’s so simple but would definitely change things.
If I had one wish, I think my wish would involve the ability to travel through time – to visit and move between various times of earth’s geological history. Though a typical wish in regards to time travel may be to live in a "better" time period as we discussed during our sustainability and generation talks, I would love the ability to freely travel between different time periods rather than just choose another one to live in.
My first thought was that I would wish that myself and those around me (friends, family, etc.), would live a completely healthy and happy life. But then I got to thinking and realized I wouldn't be who I am without the struggles and tough times that life can sometimes brings. I think anything worth doing takes effort and hard work... So I guess, I would still wish for good health and happy life for myself and those around me. But with the stipulation of having my wish not alter my life completely (making it devoid of any struggle) but instead making it so that should a hardship arise... I might have to endure it but by the end of it... I would always come out a better, healthier and happier person. (I really hope that made sense...!)
I would wish for better leadership ability and social networking skills. I could probably work on the leadership skills, but I'm awfully bad at the second.

I figure my wishes are different from most in that I imagine most people would wish for things that are nearly unobtainable without wishing for them.

Other than that of course I'd love eternal life, beauty, and tons of money.
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