Thursday, July 17, 2008

Investing wisely in love

Love is scarce so invest in it wisely. That's the message of this piece by Ben Stein in the New York Times.  I'd be interested in comments.   I guess don't want to just be 'something you invest in' but do you organise your affections on the basis of cost-benefit analysis and the payback principle?

According to Stein the returns in love situations are proportional to time and devotion invested. The amount of love you get from an investment in love is correlated to the amount of yourself you invest in the relationship. If you invest caring, patience and unselfishness, you get those things back.  Of course that is not necessarily true - ask any parent!

It helps if you stay with 'high-quality human beings'. Don't have relationship with someone with many 'serious problems'. The question ios how do you know? I guess inspection procedures go with investment effort.

And do your research. The most appealing exterior can hide the most danger and chance of loss.

Diversification in love, at least beyond a very small number, is impossible Stein claims so be relatively faithful.  Quote:

'In every long-term romantic situation, returns are greater when there is a monopoly. If you have to share your love with others, if you have to compete even after a brief while with others, forget the whole thing. You want to have monopoly bonds with your long-term lover. At least most situations work out better this way'.
I wonder if there isn't a case for optimal diversification - though it depends what you mean by love.

Finally, according to Stein, apply cost-benefit analysis towards your relationships and take a long-term perspective:
'The returns on your investment should at least equal the cost of the investment. If you are getting less back than you put in over a considerable period of time, back off.  Long-term investment pays off. The impatient day player will fare poorly without inside information or market-controlling power. He or she will have a few good days but years of agony in the world of love'.
I wonder - are many of these things not built into our genes. The next thing so mid-west American college will incorporate these ideas into a dubious undergraduate unit 'Personal Finance 3'.


Anonymous said...

Burt Bacharach thought that love was a scarcity item.
"It's the only thing that there's just too little of"

And that production should be increased

"What the world needs now is love, sweet love,"

and wished for a commo world without markets:

"No, not just for some but for everyone"

George Jones knew about long term investment:

"He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they'll carry him away
He stopped loving her today"

Willii Nelson knew about diminishing returns:

For thinking that my love could hold you
Im crazy for tryin
Crazy for cryin
And Im crazy
For lovin you"

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