[OPE-L:4091] little lost lamb

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 10:40:15 -0800 (PST)

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Once upon a time, there was a capitalist called Mr. Wolf who used sheep as
means of production to produce commodities.

Mr. Wolf went into the marketplace and bought 12 sheep prior to the
beginning of period t + 1. He assumed that the sheep would depreciate
naturally, through wear and tear, over a ten-year-period. This expectation
was based on the experience of other wolves in his branch of production.

During period t + 1, Mr. Wolf looses two of his sheep. Where have his
little lost lambs gone? It does no matter -- what matters is that he has
lost 2 of his sheep. Does the value of the remaining stock of lambs rise
because of the loss of the two sheep? I think not. The value represented
by his two little lost lambs is lost. He can't even use them for personal
consumption as lamb chops.

To make things worse, during period t + 2, genetic engineers have
developed a super-lamb which now renders the poor old sheep obsolete. What
is the value of the 10 remaining old sheep? Was Mr. Wolf able to
anticipate the development of the super-lamb? Couldn't it simply be
presented to him as a surprise?

What is a Wolf to do? In the next period of production (t + 3) what
should he base his expectations re the moral depreciation of super-sheep
on? Shouldn't he be cautious -- i.e. sheepish?

In solidarity, Jerry