Virgins, Cows and Sunk Costs

The Dragon is now terrorising the village. There are two options for dealing with him. Sacrifice a Virgin or feed him cows. Sacrificing a virgin will result in the Dragon leaving the village alone for a couple of years, whereas you need to feed him 2 cows a week.

The villagers decide.

Cows are common, and if we all chip in together, we can repay the cattle farmers.  So, the Dragon gets fed.

Three months, 26 cows and a much fatter dragon later, another village meeting is held.  The rules are different now.  Many of the families are unable to afford the cost of the cows.  Couple this with the significantly reduced number of virgins in the village,  Not surprising, after all, in times of Dragon it’s not wise to remain a virgin, and the vote changes.  Everyone suffers if cows are sacrificed, whereas only 1 virgin is needed, so it’s only one, maybe two families that will feel the effect.

They draw lots and the virgin gets chosen and tied in the square for the Dragon.  The Dragon is amused that the sacrifice is male, but given how difficult it’s becoming to find virgins he takes the sacrifice and leaves the village in peace.

The same options were presented in both cases, however, there were different circumstances.  The second meeting though there weren’t any villagers who stood up and said “Maybe if we continue to feed the Dragon cows he’ll eventually leave us alone”.  No, they looked at the rapidly shrinking stock of virgins and realised that if they left it much longer there wouldn’t be the virgin sacrifice option, and they’d be stuck handing over cows.

That’s just it.  we all make decisions based on how much time, energy or money we have invested in the past, instead of looking at things as they stand at present.

So, are you going to continue to throw cows at the problem, or are you going to sacrifice the virgin?

One Response to Virgins, Cows and Sunk Costs
  1. lhakpa tsering
    October 5, 2015 | 8:41 am

    I didn’t get the moral of the story

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