2022-05-25

I just thought of a problem, and I can’t quite figure it out.

Suppose you have something worth 10 yuan, and another person offers something worth 5 yuan, very eager to trade with you. At this point, are you willing to trade?

Of course, I wouldn’t trade with him. Since you want to trade with me, it must be an equal exchange. Why should I exchange my higher-value item for your lower-value item? That’s unfair to me. I won’t trade with him.

At this point, you have two options:

One is to take out something worth 5 yuan and trade, keeping 5 yuan and gaining an item;

The other is not to trade, keeping 10 yuan and waiting until someone is willing to trade something worth 10 yuan.

Which one would you choose?

It depends on the situation. If I’m in a hurry to trade, I might choose the first option. If I’m not in a hurry and I like the item, then I’ll wait.

Let’s consider another problem.

Suppose a person has 10 yuan and is willing to spend all 10 yuan. At one point, he takes out 3 yuan;

Another person also has 10 yuan, willing to spend a total of 5 yuan, and at the same point, takes out all 5 yuan.

On the surface, 5 yuan is more than 3 yuan, but their willingness is different.

Which one do you think is paying a higher price?

The first person is paying a higher price. He is willing to give me everything he has, just that he could only take out 3 yuan at that time. But he is also willing to give me the remaining 7 yuan later, so he is paying a higher price. The second person, although he has the money, isn’t willing to give it all to me.

What if you only need 5 yuan, and anything more is useless?

The situation is different then.

I think the more, the better. I’m quite greedy.

If you only need 5 yuan, but someone is willing to give you 10 yuan.

Does he know you only need 5 yuan?

If he knows, his willingness is overkill.

If he doesn’t know, why didn’t you tell him?

A person without friends has 10 yuan. A person with friends only has 5 yuan. Should the person without friends take out 5 yuan or wait for the person with 10 yuan?

A person without a partner has 10 yuan. A person with a partner only has 5 yuan. If a person without a partner is willing to spend 10 yuan, even if he only takes out 3 yuan now, how does your 5 yuan compare?

The above-mentioned currency units are the same, with no exchange rate issues.

If you consider different exchange rates, different total amounts of money, remaining amounts, and changes over time, the problem becomes more complex.

2022-06-18

Suppose you are now locked in prison, suffering day after day, and you gradually get used to the pain.

You keep waiting for someone who can open the prison door and let you out.

Finally, one day, someone comes and opens the prison door for you, but there is a time limit, and after two hours, you have to go back to the cell.

He promises to come every day to open the door for you, even if it’s only for two hours.

Would you thank him for the short-lived freedom he brings you?

The more you enjoy the joy of freedom, the harder it is to bear the pain in the cell. You get two hours of happiness, but the remaining time’s pain doubles.

You might even resent why someone who can only open the door for two hours comes instead of someone who can truly set you free.

How would you feel in this situation?

As time goes on, you learn more about the person who opens the door.

You find out that he doesn’t just open the door for you; he also opens the door for your neighboring inmate for two hours, and it’s also him.

At this point, you might feel jealous and afraid. Why is it not just you? Why are there others? Will there be a day when he stops opening the door for you?

You think about giving up, but you don’t. Maybe in the future, you won’t even have the chance to give up, driving you crazy.

You question him, why?

He looks innocent, not knowing what he did wrong.

He reassures you that he won’t forget you.

Later, you discover that it’s not just you, not just your neighboring inmate.

There are many others, also for two hours, and it’s him.

His time is spread across many people, so you only get two hours.

Some people get more time, some less, but you get two hours.

You hoped for someone who could set you free for twenty-four hours, but you got someone who could only give you two hours.

What do you do?

If it were not a one-sided need for bail, but a mutual need where you both open each other’s prison doors, how would the situation be different?