This weeks topic was suggested by Pravin - the Opportunity Costs of Being Human. How does being human dictate opportunity costs.
Opportunity cost is an economic concept that seems to have relevance beyond economics, although it can be argued that every decision has an economic result in some way. Businessdictionary.com offers this explanation of opportunity cost: A benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else. Since every resource (land, money, time, etc.) can be put to alternative uses, every action, choice, or decision has an associated opportunity cost.
While many of us may fancy ourselves as free and independent agents making our way through the world on our own, humans are essentially social animals that crave the comfort and support of groups. The makeup of those groups may have a strong influence - in fact, probably has a strong influence on how we lead our lives. Religion is an obvious example. In theory, your religion can influence what you eat, drink and think. Strict Jews and Muslims do not eat pork, Mormons do not drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages, and so on. Even the Christian world has divisions between Catholic, Protestants, and Evangelicals. All Evangelicals are Protestants but not all Protestants are Evangelicals. In that regard, Muslims and Jews are denied opportunities of Christians and vice versa. And, of course, most religions ultimately believe it is their way or the highway so not choosing them will lead to a non-existent afterlife or a less than pleasant one - a not insignificant cost.
As humans, we are denied the opportunity to fly like a bird but we have the ability to invent technology that allows us to fly faster and higher than any bird. We cannot breathe under water like a fish but we can invent the technology to allow us to explore the under sea world. That means although denied opportunities by our physical makeup, we can make up for that with our minds.
Choices we make certainly can deny opportunities presented by different choices, so in that sense, those opportunities missed are indeed opportunity costs lost. Life is a series of choices and there are typically trade offs. Every choice (risk) has a certain reward. Lives are determined by weighing the costs of lost benefits from choices not taken versus the benefits of the choices made.
That is this week's quick shack-take on Opportunity Costs of Being Human. Be sure to check what Ramana, Pravin, and Ashok have to say.