Elsewhere in this blog I’ve written about avoiding the temptation to hold up disaster as having some kind of beneficial effect. It is much too easy to glibly throw around “Well you know now it can be rebuilt the right way” or “Well it’s nature’s broom.” Doing so trivializes the real human cost of disaster and the long term setbacks to progress it entails.
Having said that, it really is remarkable what happens to people’s decisions and focus when you eliminate sunk cost as a concern, for instance by blowing everything that has already been built into the sea. The new restaurant at Marina Cay is only one of many examples I’ve seen on this trip. Although it doesn’t have the capacity of the old one, the location is actually better, and if they stick with that and put a much smaller structure — a little beach bar, say — in place of the old restaurant on the point, the net effect will be a major improvement.
I have no idea how to put the notion of ignoring sunk costs into practice in my life, and I’m not sure it makes any sense in the general case. If you spend all your time tearing down what you’ve already done and trying to build new, you never make any forward progress (c.f. all computer software, ever). I will admit though that a hurricane can be a handy thing for freeing decision-making… when applied judiciously.
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