It’s not too often I wax poetically about economic principles or theory, but today I have discovered something. Close to a decade ago I was in hot pursuit of my Bachelors of Finance from a wonderful little university in Joplin, MO. It was there that Dr Rawlings explained the “Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns” to a class of eager young students (it’s my picture let me paint it). So there we sat, soaking up the bounty of knowledge laid before us, while dreaming of the piles of cash that everyone makes in the business world. We learned, the law of diminishing marginal returns, states, (I paraphrase) that at some level, for each additional input, your output will decrease by some degree. Example: One worker produces 10 widgets. You add a second worker and now you produce 20 widgets. The principle claims that at some point adding additional workers will not yield that same growth rate in production (all other variables held constant ie. by the time your reach your 10th worker you may likely only be producing 97 widgets.) Yup, the law is a downer telling you that even though things may be going awesome you can’t keep that same level of awesome forever. Couple that law with the super laughable theory of “utils,” (satisfaction is at it’s peak the second you consume and deteriorates from there out) and you may get my point this morning.
If we are to assume that economics applies to not only making money, but everything in life, (which I routinely do) then my satisfaction with living in the great state of Maine should be on the decline. I should be getting bored of driving the same roads, seeing the same trees, and looking for the same moose. I should be less satisfied visiting the same parks, taking the same pictures of lighthouses, and watching the same black dog swim till her heart is content. Yet, while my input of time out doors continues to rise, my growth in happiness does not yield these so called marginal returns. In fact is the opposite.
So is it possible to keep this growth rate of happiness going? I’m not sure, but last night I chaperoned a high school homecoming dance and did not get to bed till after 1am. I awoke this morning at 6:30 and was ready to go take those same pictures and look at that same fall foliage. That’s gotta be good sign right? And while I do realize this is not ground breaking, or even remotely accurate, I have informally polled several local old people about living here in Portland, Maine and they are all terrifically happy. And they pretty much all have the same story; “Well, I’m not a Mainer, but 40 or so years ago I came here for vacation and didn’t go home.” Yup, life really is good up here.
If you read this far, thank you, and here are a few shots from this morning. I really wish you could hear the calming waves in the back ground like I could.