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  • Reverend James Squire

Cost/Risk/Benefit Analysis

Updated: Feb 8, 2021


There was an opinion piece on July 21, 2020 in the Inquirer by Janet Bednarek about the current plight of the airlines. The U.S. airline industry has two historic obstacles: Fear and fares. They had the same plight after 9/11. Back then the FAA, Congress and the White House were all on the same page. Today there is a mishmash of policies and why fly if you have nowhere to go. After 9/11 we were united and the airlines and airports made adjustments so that people felt safe. Today we are living in a partisan world with fear and being scared are part of everyday life.

Fares are an interesting dilemma for airlines to solve. They have the same way of approaching fares as we do each day of our lives. It is referred to as cost/risk/ benefit analysis. Each day of our lives we enter into the same equation that the airlines use. What is the price that you and I are paying? More important. Is it worth it? What is the cost?

Essential workers have used this formula in their daily deliberations as well. What price are our patients paying? What price are we paying as helpers in the pandemic as we may bring this virus home to our families? What is the risk to me? For essential workers risk, cost, and benefit to me or others guides our actions during this uncertain time of the virus. It takes courage to address these concerns.

Our most valuable possession is time not money. If you listen to people who come out of the hospital after beating Covid 19, they are grateful that they have time now to engage the rest of their life.

There is a story regarding the Headmaster of Eton, the fine British prep school, who was confronted by a very angry parent who did not feel her son was progressing enough. She laid that responsibility at the feet of the school. Her emotions emerged in an angry question, “Just what are you preparing him for?” The Headmaster took the wind from her sail. by responding to her with, “We are preparing him for death!” The boy was wasting time and was unfocused.

The Headmaster wanted him to appreciate the time more that he had on this earth and to use it better.

Someone who spoke eloquently regarding the formula of cost/risk/benefit ratio was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was a German pastor, theologian, and anti-Nazi dissident. He was imprisoned in 1943 and hung on April 9, 1945. He paid the highest price for his convictions. In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, he paid a price for his convictions. His decision to stand up to Hitler was the cost of his love for the Gospel and for the people of Germany.

What is the cost to us in living our lives during this time of uncertainty? Is it preparing us to love and assist others as our essential workers do? They are rightly referred to as heroes for our time. John Lewis also comes quickly to mind as well.

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