The light-rail paradox

Image by Andy Ciordia via Flickr

What if we built a train and no one came?

 

People can make decisions based not on what they actually want to do, but on what they think that other people want to do, with the result that everybody decides to do something that nobody really wants to do, but only what they thought that everybody else wanted to do. 

 The Abilene paradox:
 
On a hot afternoon visiting in Coleman, Texas, the family is comfortably playing dominoes on a porch, until the father-in-law suggests that they take a trip to Abilene [53 miles north] for dinner. The wife says, “Sounds like a great idea.” The husband, despite having reservations because the drive is long and hot, thinks that his preferences must be out-of-step with the group and says, “Sounds good to me. I just hope your mother wants to go.” The mother-in-law then says, “Of course I want to go. I haven’t been to Abilene in a long time.” 
 The drive is hot, dusty, and long. When they arrive at the cafeteria, the food is as bad as the drive. They arrive back home four hours later, exhausted.
  
 The group sits back, perplexed that they together decided to take a trip which none of them wanted. They each would have preferred to sit comfortably, but did not admit to it when they still had time to enjoy the afternoon. 

One of them dishonestly says, “It was a great trip, wasn’t it?” The mother-in-law says that, actually, she would rather have stayed home, but went along since the other three were so enthusiastic. The husband says, “I wasn’t delighted to be doing what we were doing. I only went to satisfy the rest of you.” The wife says, “I just went along to keep you happy. I would have had to be crazy to want to go out in the heat like that.” The father-in-law then says that he only suggested it because he thought the others might be bored. 

*************************** 

 Is anyone seriously suggesting that we vote to increase Hillsborough County sales taxes by $200 MILLION every year from now on to forever because Mr. Commissioner Ken Hagan wants to buy a Choo-Choo for downtown Tampa? 

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One Response to “The light-rail paradox”

  1. Marilyn Smith Says:

    OOPPSS, there we have that dangerous action of assuming EVERYONE
    wants whe you suggest. Of course, ignorance of WHAT IS REALLY AT STAKE AND HOW MUCH THE PUBLIC DOES NOT KNOW is even more dangerous. We have also have a complacent PUBLIC which helf listens or doesn’t ack enough questions….apparently there are still people in this country and county who THINK THE ELECTEC OFFICIALS WILL DO THE RIGHT THING.

    EITHER EVERYONE GETS ENGAGED YOUR SHUT-UP WHEN THE PROBLEMS BECOME VERY CLEAR AND YOUR JOB IS GONE AND YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FALL BACK ON…. MARILYN

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