COVID19: Parable of two crops

Imagine a farm that grows food crops based on hybridized stock.

There are two plots, one for hybridizing the seeds for next year’s crops and the other for growing the cash crop for this year.   Both crops require mid-season irrigation from a reservoir or else the yield will suffer.   The larger of the two plots are for the cash crop because the hybridization crop needs to be just large enough to provide next year’s seeds.

One year it is discovered that the reservoir is so low that it can not irrigate both crops sufficiently.   The farmer has a choice:

  1. Divert the irrigation for the next year’s seed stock to salvage this year’s revenue goals from the cash crops.
  2. Fully irrigate next year’s seed stock and thus accept the loss of production in this year’s cash crops, perhaps to the point of suffering a financial loss.
  3. Balance the losses for both crops and thus dooming next year to a smaller crop due to having fewer seeds.

The past-motivated risk-based-decision will prefer the second option and may accept the third option but it would reject the first option.

The future-motivated risk-based-decision will reject both the second and third options.   It is clear that this is going to be a bad year already and it is not yet known if further difficulties may develop.   It is better to prepare for next year with especially if there is reason to believe that this year’s drought is very unusual.

To quote Thomas Paine:

If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.

Paraphrased for COVID-19, let’s act in a way so our children can have a prosperous future.


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