To borrow from the departed Cash.
Suppose that in a nation, there were large numbers of partnerships that specialized in moving things. These partnerships consisted of two partners, one specialized in moving the front, and the other in moving the rear of the objects in question.
Suppose further that on the order of 30-50% of these partnerships are highly dysfunctional, even to the extent of dissolving the partnership.
The front half-ers claim that the problem is the result of the back half-ers, that they aren't carrying their share of the load. Of course the back half-ers claim precisely the opposite.
So who do you free, and who do you blame? Or how do you apportion the criticism resulting from the massive wake of destruction they have left behind?
Well, from a status perspective, the answer is easy---you blame whoever will give you the most status points.
From a who---whom perspective, the answer is also easy---you blame whoever your Whom is and absolve your who.
But suppose you actually care about truth, believing that in this instance, a solution that sucks less in general is possible?
Well in that case, you're in a quandary---perhaps even a literal he said--she said.
But there's a way to resolve this. You ask other furniture movers, ones without any dog in the fight---ideally...foreign furniture movers from cultures not highly alien to the one you are in these questions:
To the foreign front half-ers: Hey, would you want to form a permanent partnership with a back half-er from this country?
To the foreign back half-ers: Fancy a partnership with a front half-er from THAT country?
Even better than asking, you can just observe their revealed preference. If you see that one group is much more desirable as a partner than the other, you have your answer, in proportion to the ratios observed.
The application of this parable to marriage in the US is left as an exercise to the reader.
A Barefoot Boy on Earth Day, 1970
1 day ago