Thursday, 29 November 2007

Path Dependency

I am a believer that in order to understand the workings of the world, history matters, a lot. Perhaps the word history evokes an overly donnish connotation, and conjures up images of dusty tomes in a dark library. What I really mean is that events in the past have crucial bearings on present and future events.

It also means that in the man-made world, I view nothing as being random. Sometimes events might appear random, but upon closer inspection, they can always be explained by appealing to things that happened before. For example, your girlfriend suddenly throwing a tantrum might seem ridiculously random. But we ALL know it is never random. It just means that you are too insensitive or lazy to know why.

It doesn't mean, however, that I believe everything is predetermined. I am the opposite of being fatalistic. The fact that present and future events are function of past events doesn't mean that they are predetermined. It is because every single event is a function of your own actions (and inactions) as well. And by extension, all our interactions. Everything is intertwined, and we are doing the intertwining. Outcomes in the future are for us to decide. Appreciating what happened before helps us to be more informed in how best to affect the future.

This brings me to the question I want to pose to my readers:

What would your first reaction be (as in what would you do first) when you encounter a tap that refuses to twist in a public toilet?


UPDATE: It is not a rhetorical question; I will have a post on the question once I get an okay'ish amount of answers (by Arrested Development's standard, say, 5?).



sueyin said...

Give it a good thump and hope it works after.

Dan said...

Look for the janitor and inform him of the problem. Give up if janitor cannot be found in 1-2 mins.

Anonymous said...

move on to the next tap

feliz said...

look for water elsewhere first..

then, only try and help solve tap problem ..

hierarchy of needs ..

Chewxy said...

Twist it the other way around. American faucets and British taps turn at different directions.

^Path dependencies - Electrical conventions in America and in the rest of the world is also different. So are driving sides.

Then if it doesn't work, I'll ask you to marry me

zcer said...

I will say: "sheesh... another pretentious piece of postmodernist 'art' "


"damn, i must be in candid camera..."

Harrison Bin Hansome said...

Either pee on your hands or dip them in the toilet bowls. What a stupid question, even teasingly.....

Suhas said...

I'd stare and contemplate at which of the possible part-manufacturers caused the defect and see if I can isolate it with a particular cause i.e. grumpy worker who gets low pay and doesn't care to ensure that the tap's configurations are right.

Yeah, I'd also ask you to marry me. An economist blogger in Cambridge? Damn, that's as sexy as it gets - An economist undergrad in Singapore.

Suhas said...

Though, you didn't help me much in my paper on how path dependency can be used to explain LDC problems.

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