History Main / SunkCostFallacy

19th Feb '17 11:07:20 PM Twiddler
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-> '''Villager :''' A lot of people gave very selflessly to build this warship so we can go out and battle the Vikings. But the time has come to admit that hard work and hope are no substitute for actual knowledge. And that we've made a really shitty ship. If we sail this ship against the Vikings, we'll be massacred immediately. I suggest we break it up for scrap and never speak of it again.
-> '''Other Villager :''' Throw away months of work? Fuck that! Let's fight! ''[crowd cheers]''

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-> '''Villager :''' ->'''Villager:''' A lot of people gave very selflessly to build this warship so we can go out and battle the Vikings. But the time has come to admit that hard work and hope are no substitute for actual knowledge. And that we've made a really shitty ship. If we sail this ship against the Vikings, we'll be massacred immediately. I suggest we break it up for scrap and never speak of it again.
-> '''Other Villager :''' ->'''Other Villager:''' Throw away months of work? Fuck that! Let's fight! ''[crowd cheers]''



-> '''Vikings :''' [incredulous] Seriously, how does a boat just catch fire by itself?
-->-- WebComic/{{Oglaf}} "[[http://oglaf.com/bilge/ Bilge]]"


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-> '''Vikings :''' [incredulous] ->'''Vikings:''' ''[incredulous]'' Seriously, how does a boat just catch fire by itself?
-->-- WebComic/{{Oglaf}} -->--Webcomic/{{Oglaf}}, "[[http://oglaf.com/bilge/ Bilge]]"

18th Feb '17 11:02:05 PM BattleMaster
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* ''WebComic/TheOrderOfTheStick'''s Redcloak suffers from this, as expressed in ''Recap/StartOfDarkness''; It's not that he believes in the Plan as much he believes that if he gives it up, it'll make all of the horrible things he's done worthless, in spite of being told from both his brother and [[BigBad Xykon]] himself what an empty excuse this is.

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* ''WebComic/TheOrderOfTheStick'''s Redcloak suffers from this, as expressed in ''Recap/StartOfDarkness''; It's not that he believes in the Plan as much he believes that if he gives it up, it'll make all of the horrible things he's done worthless, in spite of being told from both his brother and [[BigBad Xykon]] himself what an empty excuse this is. Also, he continues to support Xykon despite being entirely too familiar with the lich's BadBoss habits and knowing that completing the Plan with Xykon will ''not'' work out in his favor, he feels too invested to quite and find some other, saner arcane spellcaster to work with instead.
11th Dec '16 8:15:53 AM ElSquibbonator
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* This phenomenon is also referred to as the "Concorde fallacy". The Concorde supersonic airliner was enormously expensive to develop and maintain, but never truly turned a profit in service. It was only kept in service by Air France and British Airways because to do otherwise after investing so much in the development of the plane would have been wasteful.



* This phenomenon is also referred to as the "Concorde fallacy". The Concorde supersonic airliner was enormously expensive to develop and maintain, but never truly turned a profit in service. It was only kept in service by Air France and British Airways because to do otherwise after investing so much in the development of the plane would have been wasteful.
11th Dec '16 8:15:12 AM ElSquibbonator
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Added DiffLines:

* This phenomenon is also referred to as the "Concorde fallacy". The Concorde supersonic airliner was enormously expensive to develop and maintain, but never truly turned a profit in service. It was only kept in service by Air France and British Airways because to do otherwise after investing so much in the development of the plane would have been wasteful.
20th Oct '16 1:42:53 PM Josef5678
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** [[WarGames Interesting game. The only winning move is not to play.]]

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** [[WarGames [[Film/WarGames Interesting game. The only winning move is not to play.]]



* Parodied in [[http://www.angryflower.com/smashi.html this]] ''Webcomic/BobTheAngryFlower'' strip.

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* %%* Parodied in [[http://www.angryflower.com/smashi.html this]] ''Webcomic/BobTheAngryFlower'' strip.



** Utility also explains why sometimes our "irrational" choices are not always irrational at all. For example, suppose that in my small American town, a local drug dealer is taken by a customer for about $200 USD, so he goes to the customer's house and assaults him viciously. The possible consequences of the assault could send the dealer to jail for years - so it seems so foolhardy. An armchair economist would look at it and say, "Cut your losses; it's a sunk $200, and risking serious charges over it is stupid." But the drug dealer is part of the black market. He can't go to law enforcement to enforce his property rights over his stuff. A reputation for being easy to con or being unwilling to punish theft could make him easy prey for another criminal. Thus, when weighing the risks against $200 USD and his ''reputation'', and when using the ''dealer's'' value system, the choice is no longer irrational. When accounting utility, always look at it from the decision-maker's values and preferences.

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** Utility also explains why sometimes our "irrational" choices are not always irrational at all. For example, suppose that in my a small American town, a local drug dealer is taken by a customer for about $200 USD, so he goes to the customer's house and assaults him viciously. The possible consequences of the assault could send the dealer to jail for years - so it seems so foolhardy. An armchair economist would look at it and say, "Cut your losses; it's a sunk $200, and risking serious charges over it is stupid." But the drug dealer is part of the black market. He can't go to law enforcement to enforce his property rights over his stuff. A reputation for being easy to con or being unwilling to punish theft could make him easy prey for another criminal. Thus, when weighing the risks against $200 USD and his ''reputation'', and when using the ''dealer's'' value system, the choice is no longer irrational. When accounting utility, always look at it from the decision-maker's values and preferences.
11th Oct '16 11:34:38 AM chc232323
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This trope is not merely Bob's commitment to a course of action because he's invested too much to turn back. If Bob has already made the down payment on a house, for example, he is likely to continue in the purchase of that house since he would lose money for no gain if he stops. In order for a situation to be the Sunk Cost Fallacy, it must be one where (1) Bob remains committed to a course of action in order to justify what he has already spent on it and (2) it is obvious to any rational person that the longer he stays, the more he will lose.

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This trope is not merely Bob's commitment to a course of action because he's invested too much to turn back. If Bob has already made the down payment on a house, for example, he is likely to continue in the purchase of that house since he would lose money for no gain if he stops. In order for a situation to be the Sunk Cost Fallacy, it must be one where (1) Bob remains committed to a course of action in order to justify what he has already spent on it and (2) it is obvious to any rational person that the longer he stays, the more he cost of staying in ''now'' will lose.
exceed the cost of simply stopping now, taking on the loss, and moving on.
25th Sep '16 11:54:54 AM MarsJenkar
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** The Hubble Space Telescope is a good example of why additional costs after the fact aren't necessarily this trope. When the telescope was first deployed, there was a major flaw in the primary optical mirror; it has been ground to the wrong curve, making the images it sent back very blurry, and rendering the primary purpose of the telescope (clearer images outside Earth's atmosphere) mostly pointless. Some people quickly wrote off Hubble as a failure at that point, so when a mission to send up a new module to correct for the bad optics was announced, these people slammed NASA for throwing more money into a telescope they thought would never work properly. The fact was, NASA knew ''exactly'' what was needed to correct for the issue, thanks to documentation of the process used to grind the mirror, which was ground ''very precisely'' to the wrong shape. Long story short, the corrective module was sent up to (and installed in) the telescope, and afterwards, new images from Hubble were incredibly clear, as had been envisioned at the start of the project. The money spent to correct the optical issues (a relatively small amount compared to the overall cost of the telescope) proved to be money well-spent, and Hubble is still in service--and providing great imagery--as of 2016.

to:

** The Hubble Space Telescope is a good example of why additional costs after the fact aren't necessarily this trope. When the telescope was first deployed, there was a major flaw in the primary optical mirror; it has been ground to the wrong curve, making the images it sent back very blurry, and rendering the primary purpose of the telescope (clearer images outside Earth's atmosphere) mostly pointless. Some people quickly wrote off Hubble as a failure at that point, so when a mission to send up a new module to correct for the bad optics was announced, these people slammed NASA for throwing more money into a telescope they thought would never work properly. The fact was, NASA knew ''exactly'' what was needed to correct for the issue, thanks to documentation of the process used to grind the mirror, which was ground ''very precisely'' to the wrong shape. Long story short, the corrective module was sent up to (and installed in) the telescope, and afterwards, new images from Hubble were incredibly clear, as had been envisioned at the start of the project. The money spent to correct the optical issues (a relatively small amount compared to the overall cost of the telescope) proved to be money well-spent, well-spent...and more to the point, the repair cost a fraction of the money that building a completely new telescope would have, for most of the same benefit (one of the telescope's original modules had to be removed for the corrective module to be installed). Hubble is still in service--and providing great imagery--as of 2016.
25th Sep '16 11:40:42 AM MarsJenkar
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Added DiffLines:

** The Hubble Space Telescope is a good example of why additional costs after the fact aren't necessarily this trope. When the telescope was first deployed, there was a major flaw in the primary optical mirror; it has been ground to the wrong curve, making the images it sent back very blurry, and rendering the primary purpose of the telescope (clearer images outside Earth's atmosphere) mostly pointless. Some people quickly wrote off Hubble as a failure at that point, so when a mission to send up a new module to correct for the bad optics was announced, these people slammed NASA for throwing more money into a telescope they thought would never work properly. The fact was, NASA knew ''exactly'' what was needed to correct for the issue, thanks to documentation of the process used to grind the mirror, which was ground ''very precisely'' to the wrong shape. Long story short, the corrective module was sent up to (and installed in) the telescope, and afterwards, new images from Hubble were incredibly clear, as had been envisioned at the start of the project. The money spent to correct the optical issues (a relatively small amount compared to the overall cost of the telescope) proved to be money well-spent, and Hubble is still in service--and providing great imagery--as of 2016.
17th Sep '16 7:23:37 PM The_Pyro_Jawsome
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**ChurchOfHappyology is infamous for this,what with having to fork over $100,000 in the ''first fucking year''.
14th Aug '16 7:02:16 PM MsChibi
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* Gambling addictions usually fall into this trope. While people who are hooked on gambling are hooked on the rush of risking everything to win big, other addicted gamblers will gladly keep blowing money on a game until they can win back everything they lost just because they already lost money in the first place. For example, if someone were to lose $5000 in a game, they will keep spending money on that game until they can win back that $5000 plus the additional money spent to get back the initial losses. In other words, "I already invested so much money in this game, I may as well keep playing until I can win everything back." Overlaps with GamblersFallacy, because obviously a losing streak means you have to win something soon, maybe the very next game.

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* [[TheGamblingAddict Gambling addictions addictions]] usually fall into this trope. While people who are hooked on gambling are hooked on the rush of risking everything to win big, other addicted gamblers will gladly keep blowing money on a game until they can win back everything they lost just because they already lost money in the first place. For example, if someone were to lose $5000 in a game, they will keep spending money on that game until they can win back that $5000 plus the additional money spent to get back the initial losses. In other words, "I already invested so much money in this game, I may as well keep playing until I can win everything back." Overlaps with GamblersFallacy, because obviously a losing streak means you have to win something soon, maybe the very next game.
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