May 2017

"A little bit of luxury goes a long way" someone said the other day.

They meant it's better to afford throwing money at a problem than have to solve it. For example, that it's better to hire an accountant to do your taxes than have to worry about it.

But there's a better solution: to not have to file taxes in the first place. Then we wouldn't need accountants. Everything about taxes can be figured out automatically without anyone having to file.

The point isn't how to fix taxes though. There's a principle here about luxury and it has consequences.

What the person who said this overlooked is a second meaning of this phrase. That the bad effects of luxury go a long way too. The problem with throwing money at a problem instead of solving it at its root isn't just that you lose grip of the real problem, but also that you let it grow. Growth compounds. Just as solutions grow to yield more solutions, problems grow to cause more problems. Between these two directions, luxury feeds the one with negative polarity. It feeds the problem instead of the solution.

A little bit of luxury may be a good strategy for problems that can be ignored but it's a bad one for problems that need to be solved.