More of everything

If you want your music to have more bass, more mid-range, and more treble, then you just want the music louder. You can increase all three components in absolute terms, but not in relative terms. You can’t increase the proportions of everything.

Would you like more students to major in STEM subjects? OK, what subjects would you like fewer students to major in? English, perhaps? Administrators are applauded when they say they’d like to see more STEM majors, but they know better than to say which majors they’d like to see fewer of.

We have a hard time with constraints.

I’m all for win-win, make-the-pie-bigger solutions when they’re possible. And often they are. But sometimes they’re not.

2 thoughts on “More of everything

  1. Agree. Many things in life are *not* zero sum, but ultimately some choices mean choosing *against* certain options. Hopefully when needed one will have developed one’s thinking about outcomes, likelihoods, and resources to choose a course of action that will best bring about one’s desired outcome.

  2. The obvious source for “more” high school graduates in STEM is to reduce the numbers of those who do not graduate.

    It can’t become a zero-sum game until EVERYONE is included in the sum!

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