Essay V

Once again, be sure you have read and understood the instructions. If you have any question, please don't hesitate to ask via GroupMe or by email to

Note that this essay is worth 150 points. However, since the question is likewise somewhat more involved, the range of number of words on this essay is extended from 500-750 to 500-1200.

In light of our discussion of the Happy Clam Thought Experiment in class Monday, consider the following story:

The Fisherman

A fisherman lives a simple life on a small island. In the early mornings, weather permitting, he goes out to sea in his small sailboat and nets a nice catch of fish. Late morning he takes his catch to sell for a few hours in the town market after dropping off enough to feed his family. After making his modest living, he spends the rest of the day with his family, playing with his children, taking naps, and maybe helping his friends. He takes great pleasure in his easy and relaxing lifestyle. Despite not being particularly well-off, he is well-liked and respected on the island, has many friends, and loves spending time with his family.

A recent M.B.A. visits this island and quickly sees how this fisherman could become rich. He could catch more fish, start up a business, market the fish, open a cannery, maybe even issue an I.P.O. Ultimately he would become truly successful. He could donate some of his fish to hungry children worldwide and might even save lives.

"And then what?" asks the fisherman.

"Then you could spend lots of time with your family," replies the visitor. "Yet you would have made a difference in the world. You would have used your talents, and fed some poor children, instead of just lying around all day."

What about your own life? Is it more important to have little, accomplish little, yet be relaxed and happy and spend time with family? Or is it more important to work hard, use your talents, perhaps start a business, maybe even make the world a better place along the way?

Whichever way you choose, suppose you are challenged on your choice! A friend, say, or a family member, fiercely argues against your choice, saying you should have chosen otherwise. Listening carefully and being open-minded, you find they have very good reasons and make you wonder about your whether your choice was the right choice for you to make. What reasons have they given you? How might you respond in defending your choice?