The Ultimate Trade-off

Recently, Dateline NBC aired a story on a man by the name of Aron Ralston. At first glance you may not remember this man's name, but his story is unforgettable. In April of 2003, Ralston decided to go for a hike in Southeastern Utah. While climbing through a small slot canyon Aron grabbed a loose boulder that shifted under the weight of his body. The 800 lb. boulder then fell onto Ralston's arm, trapping him between the rock and the cliff wall.

After several days of being ensnared by this enormous boulder Ralston began to loose hope of ever being found. In the final moments of his life Aron etched his own epitaph in the cliff wall next to him so that he could be identified if he was ever found. Things looked pretty bleak, but there was one chance for survival. Aron could either die or he could free his body by amputating his own arm.

Life is made up of many decisions. Some decisions may not be of the same magnitude as Aron Ralston's, but some may be. In economics we learn that there are trade-offs for every decision that we make. In order to make the best decision the future benefits should outweigh the costs. In this particular story Aron weighed his benefits as well as his costs and in the end Ralston chose his arm for his life. Today Aron only has one arm, but he is truly grateful to be alive.

1 comment:

Dr. Tufte said...

One "lose/loose" mistake.

I think this is just a fantastic post. What a great example of someone acting rationally and optimally in a situation where you'd probably be willing to be that irrationality and sub-optimality would predominate.