ECO102: The Opportunity Cost of Cheating
Definition: Opportunity Cost (Economics)
The loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.
Example 1: If one body-con dress from Zara costs $99 and a pair of Badgley Mishka pumps costs $268. What is the opportunity cost of choosing the pumps over 3 Zara dresses in three different colors,if a sales promotion is on for the dresses: buy one get one 40% off?
Answer: *bored face*I don't care, I intend to buy them all and also the chandelier earrings in the corner.
Opportunity cost (OC) was a concept lost on me in Economics class. I intended to be so rich, that I’d have no need for such troublesome math issues. Why would I want to give up one thing for another, when I could conveniently (or inconveniently) have both? I am of the school of thought, which abides by the rule of eating your moist and glorious cake and having it. Who wouldn't want to rip up a priority list and play Candy Crush Saga in an Economics class, when you know all those concepts don't concern you at all?!
However, that isn’t how reality works *sad face*. We have to make choices- the best ones, while weighing options continuously, to obtain optimum satisfaction and the best use of our resources. And not just financial resources but also the resources of time, energy, physical and mental acuity-anything that can be converted into productivity and profit.
Therefore, the concept of opportunity cost can also be applied to most life-decisions we make, and not just for pecuniary causes. For example, there is an opportunity cost for you reading this post, you could easily spend your time doing something else**. There is an opportunity cost for having a quarrel with your spouse or partner, or keeping a grudge; you guys could very well be making out on a raft, while sipping pineapple cocktails in between. And of course, there is the opportunity cost of cheating. When a person chooses to be unfaithful, are the benefits forgone, considered? What potential gain is lost when the alternative of infidelity is chosen? What are they missing out on, by nibbling illegal, glorious cakes in shrouded, dark, air-conditioned hotel rooms?
Before we answer those questions, let's first figure out, why people cheat. Studies show that women cheat as a result of emotional dissatisfaction with their partners while men cheat as a result of sexual dissatisfaction or in search of “variety". Summary, a lot of dissatisfied parties and a need for “variety”!
For some clarity, I will invite you to go back with me to the Stone Age, to gain some understanding to why science believes people cheat and why men seek variety *shrug*.
Men have an inherent biological drive to produce as many offspring as possible. Back then, a man would tend to holler from cave to cave in an attempt to spread his gene pool. Now, at that time the best strategy they could come up with, albeit crude, was to impregnate as many post-puberty women as possible. Women weren't into the monogamous scene either because they received favors from their sexual partners and the fathers of their children and the more wallets flipped open for child support, the better. For the women, their decisions were based on the base-criteria of food and protection, for the men, well, anyone who could give birth to a child worked. For optimal supply of their needs, women and men ran loose on the streets, shopping for as many partners as possible! Staying with one man couldn't produce the highest social responsibility output, neither could staying with one woman produce the highest offspring output!
So it was thus:
Homo Erectus: *grunts and points to self*: Many. Baby. Me
She Erectus: *grunts*: Protect. Food. Me want chicken with side of sweetcorn.
Homo Erectus:*points to woman*: Ok. Boobs. Mine.
She Erectus *points to 6 other men*: Also. Them
Homo Erectus:*points to a group of women*: More. Boobs. Mine. Again. Me have many baby!
She Erectus: Me. Many. Food. And Lion. Not eat me.
It was dysfunctional but simple, men could have multiple partners, women could have multiple partners.
It’s not the same today, as you would notice. These days, Homo Sapiens*** rule the streets.
Shouldn’t we, as Homo Sapiens, who are rumored to have the bigger brains and more comely bone structures and let’s admit it, better looking facial features than the cave men, act the part? Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus worked with basic biological urges, that was their excuse. What's the Homo Sapiens excuse? Habilis and Erectus weren't aware of the concept of opportunity cost (and probably hygiene as well) but we are and are able to make better decisions!
Example 2: What is the opportunity cost of cheating on your significant other(S.O) with the Homo Erectus down the street?
1. You have more spending-money
Affairs are expensive and if not uncomfortably expensive, they still impact resources. Now, many people don't mind spending a little side cash here and there for a "good time" and there have been correlations between successful people and a propensity for infidelity (because they can afford it). The interesting specimen though are the middle-class or lower middle-class who cheat! The value forgone when taking her to that hotel or on that 19 hour trip, could be put to better use. Bottom line, you have more cash to go around!
2. You have more energy to expend
Cheating requires so much physical and mental energy. You have to come up with an infallible do-not-get-caught strategy; you have to use your toe-pinkie print as the pass-code to your phone; you have to bribe your driver incessantly to cover your tracks-your driver, who has now bought a pretty flat in the city from your generosity; you have to look your kids in the eyes and ensure they don’t sense your dishonesty and unfaithfulness. It’s just so much work- and the lies-those just keep morphing and multiplying. Conserve your energy, save the planet!
3. You get to visit the same ice-cream shop with 200 flavors to choose from (creative variety)
We established that men cheat sometimes because they seek variety. Here's something you don't hear everyday: Monogamy requires creativity. Having sex with the same person for years, definitely requires that you do some homework to spice things up regularly. If your sex life is boring, it's an opportunity to make it work for the both of you. It's like going to your favorite ice cream shop and having >150 flavors to choose from! No need to cross the street to the other store, when you've been going here for ages and this one knows what you need before you even ask. It gets better, you don't have to pay a dime.
4. You get a life-long bestie and someone to share dentures with
Prudent people don't cheat. It might be all bat-swinging and triathlons now but one day you will grow old and "who's gonna have your back when it's all gone?" *in Shaggy's voice* Stay faithful and play the denture game.
5. Heart peace and an unlocked phone
Imagine a life where your heart doesn't climb into your mouth whenever your wife's fingers graze your phone or a moment when your child is playing a game on your phone and a sext doesn't mistakenly come in. Imagine everything was simpler and you could sleep with both eyes closed, that's what you get when you stay faithful!
6. Productivity and becoming the next Zuckerberg
Less time eating moist, glorious cake, means more time to focus and spend on more useful things, like starting a business or pursuing a dream you've always wanted to. Use your time well!
7. You are able to repair and rebuild as a team
Women, cheating because you aren't emotionally satisfied or because your S.O is broke is probably not your better alternative. Emotions, for one, are so over-rated. There are millions of emotions that come with your side-man and you get the whole package, not just the squishy love bit. Finding ways to fix the emotional deficit in your relationship is less of a hustle and at the end you get the satisfaction of saying, "Hey, we fixed that!"
8. The avoidance of having children with the same proclivity for cheating
It's one thing to want loads of kids, it's another thing to ensure that they are raised with care and sufficient emotional, spiritual and financial support. What Habilis and Erectus didn't know was that it was not about quantity, it was about quality. The cohesive effort of raising wonderful kids with your S.O should be priority-kids who turn out less like the cavemen. Like I asked in this post, how do you prevent your child from being lynched by a group of 17 girls for cheating on them? I guess here's an answer to that: live by example, honor your marital bed and esteem honesty.
*** Word on the Science-streets is that Homo Sapiens are evolving, see what i mean? Not the time to think like Habilis at all. Levels have changed.
**Thank you for choosing our blog over your opportunity cost! We appreciate you spending your time here. Thank you!
What are your thoughts? We'd really love to know!