Doing The Extremely Smart Thing

buds and donkeyOn the subject of doing the smart thing in terms of cold impersonal economic considerations, the RAND Corporation this week released the results of an in-depth study on the potential billions in economic gain for Israel and the Palestinians if a two state solution could be reached, contrasted with the far greater economic cost of returning to open conflict. The fact that open warfare in any region is far more destructive economically than negotiated accords should be surprising to no one. What the very rational RAND Corporation report spells out is the actual billions to be gained or lost by following each of five possible scenarios the two sides could follow in dealing with their differences.

On a much smaller scale we have witnessed in millions of cases how much economic benefit a couple and a family would achieve by negotiating their differences rather than going into the open warfare called divorce, as in “The War of the Roses”. From a strictly financial perspective enormous amounts of family income are spent on the legal processes of getting a divorce, followed by the ongoing economic hit of having to maintain two separate residences rather than one. Most typically each marital partner, to say nothing of the children, experience a significant drop in their lifestyle as a result of going the divorce route.

I have more than once begun working with a couple who after a very few sessions announced they couldn’t afford therapy to resolve their differences but immediately each shelled out $10,000 retainers to family attorneys to just begin the process of coming apart legally. The people who most obviously immediately gain from the divorce epidemic are the family law attorneys and the owners of apartment complexes. And this is considering merely the cold hard financial facts, giving no attention to the staggering emotional hit experienced by each member of the family.

You don’t need a RAND Corporation paper to show how much better each side would be if dialogue could achieve a workable relationship rather than going to open warfare. This is true most obviously in today’s Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and other Middle Eastern nations where entire infrastructures are reduced to rubble, turning developed nations into living Hells.

Once again, wouldn’t doing the smart thing really be doing the right thing?