On Commitment and Welfare
This reflection had been a draft for some time prior to publication, hence the out-of-date nature.
Modern civilization is becoming gradually different from what did function for millennia. And it is a good thing, sure. Women have been given the right to vote at the beginning of the 20th century, slavery has been finally abolished in modern countries, wage gaps are decreasing, homosexual marriage is becoming legislated in western countries and more and more changes in benefit of the civil rights are taking place. Technological evolution and further aspects have been decreasing geographic and social barriers throughout the world, medical advancement increased the amount of time we have to live and globalization and automation made it easy for us to get food.
And as this makes our lives much easier and increases our amount of independence, we can do whatever whenever wherever the hell we want. But is that good? What about the purpose of life? Is the perception of it slowly refocusing on making our life enjoyable from the babyboomers’ ideal of having a family and building up the net-value of our assets? Is it becoming fashionable to have minimal savings, living day-to-day as if there was no tomorrow?
I am asking myself these questions, because I don’t have these opinions. I have gone through a roller-coaster of a childhood and plan on never causing that to my children. I have a vision of building myself a place of my own with a room of total peace in the basement. My territory, where I allow only those I will trust. I don’t mind liabilities, as long as my risk of default is close to zero. I want everything to be certain. Because I’ve had enough of surprises.
As much as this idyllic vision might seem modest and achievable, it might be an issue when it comes to finding someone to share it with. Of course, overall stability and ability to provide shared welfare are desired in men, however, to what extent should I believe that the motivation to follow the vision is genuine. It is the opportunism and self-interest that scares me.
I know I should not have that fear now and enjoy my life on a daily basis, just like everyone my age, but when do I stop? When do I settle? Am I going to get divorced in result of an influence of a millionaire passerby?
The main question here is probably asking what the determinants of individual utility are. In particular, I am interested in the effects of the individual stages in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I know the pyramid has been given and coefficients of slope dummies for the bottom stages of “the pyramid” are going to be huge, but what are the slope effects?
This topic might actually be a good start for a rather rigorous study. The unfortunate part of it relates closely to the disparity of inductive and deductive emphasis. One would say that based on psychological theory, a model should be built and then tested in some way through a long term observation, or just used…
Inductive, econometric study would though enable us to observe relative changes in welfare to individual determinants, expressing marginal commitment in one way or other. The massive drawback of such idea is the fact that if I ask a stranger “What is your perceived overall utility?” they will probably stare at me with their mouth open.
Only suitable way to do this would then be to define commitment as an overtime increase in… umm… overall perceived utility. Dead end. If anyone reads this and has an epiphany, let me know.