Monday, December 28, 2009

Does Cap-and-Trade Apply to Friendships?

Does Cap-and-Trade Apply to Friendships?

Dear Reader, today has not been a particularly good day for me. Today started off as an excellent day. It was the day after an excellent Glee, the commute was perfect, and Bank of America paid back its TARP loan. But as the day started promising, an icy penumbra descended upon me. While discussing Glee, a particular co-worker announced her disappointment on how the writers treated Will’s marriage in a flippant manner. Naturally, this proved most offensive. Well this set off a conflagration of emotions, in particular a recent conversation I had a friend, which in turn further spoiled my mood. All of this ultimately resulted in an unpolitical email on my part in which a co-worker/very good friend rightfully took umbrage on. Ultimately, things are fine. I apologized, and we walked out as girlfriends again. But all this made me think, are our friendships miniature versions of Cap-and-Trade?

In reducing Cap-and-Trade to the most ridiculous of terms, the system is basically the trading of credits between producers to emit pollution. A company will be allocated a certain amount of credits based on several factors such as: number of employees, revenue, industry, and working capital. If a company expends all its credits, it has to go to the secondary market to purchase more credits. For example, if GM produces a bunch of Escalades and use up all its credits, it will have to go to Breyer Ice Cream (parent of Ben and Jerry’s) and purchase some of its credits. This exchange of credits, reminds me of the proverbial give and take in friendships and other relationships. My initial co-worker who brought up the marriage argument ticked me off, so what happened? Credit expensed. Which then leads to other problems, what do we do when all the credits are expensed, or even worse, what happens when a particular situation obliterates the entire pool of credits?

Dear Reader, I presume you are fully acquainted with my situation regarding Mr. Big. Well I had a conversation with an individual Sunday, and the topic of Big came along. I told him that Big is leaving on Tuesday, and that he might come back, but might is the operative word. This in turn lead to the statement “Oh, don’t take offense to this, but with how things are going for you, you will still be single when he comes back.” The conversation ended shortly after.

I discussed the conversation with several individuals. The first person essentially told me to use up a credit “That is how he is.” The second person told me that the only way to get more credits is if the individual apologizes “Fuck him. Has he said I am sorry.” The third person essentially told me that Armageddon descended into the secondary market, “I would punch him. In the face. In front of his mother.” Three different people, three different approaches to the market.

I find this concept of Cap-and-Trade quite fascinating. Because we all do it. Of further interest, is how we apply the secondary market. We don’t really purchase credits per se, but we do receive credits from other parties. An example is how my parents interact. Often after a particular slight no matter how petty or large, a person is dead to one of my parents, and it will often be the other who tells the injured to let it go. Essentially my mother gave my father a credit.

But I guess there are situations were the market is impaired and inoperative. A person who was particularly dear to me announced that he voted for Prop 8 due to religious reasons. I was inconsolable and irate; essentially, I was betrayed. On numerous occasions my Father tried to give me credits: first he told me that, “__ is young,” on another occasion he attempted to persuade me in resetting the market. “Let it go,” my father even tried to appeal to my side of contempt, loosely translated from Cantonese, “It is offensive, his brother wouldn’t do that, at least Jon didn’t. Forget about it.” Admittedly, a period after, the individual did send an email extending an offer of reconciliation that I never answered.

I had a dialogue with a friend about the conversation regarding Mr. Big. My friend asked, “Are you going to cut and run like usual.” It is a sad and profound condemnation – that my market is a constantly bearish. What is ironic, was that my co-worker/friend expensed credits on me. I apologized, and she said “Forget about it, Kuma’s next Thursday.” Thankfully, there are some markets that can post gains.

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