Economic Thinking

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate March 2001

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In the story "Devil At Andel Station", I don't believe that the victim acted rationally. He should have been happy to get his wallet back. True he was mad, and probably in his eyes he acted rationally, but to the observers he most likely seemed crazy. He probably had important documents in his wallet like money, identification, or even a passport. It seems that he was thinking about the long-term effects it would have on him, panicked, then acted irrationally without realizing it. If that was myself I would have been both surprised and relieved to get the wallet back and probably looked back and laughed at the situation. The victim's wife did not act rationally either. She was thinking about her own welfare and safety, fled the scene, then came back and became somewhat embarrassed by her husbands behavior. If I was in her shoes, I would have stayed, showed support and tried to help.

The group of thieves, in my opinion, did not act rationally at all. If you are a thief, and your main goal is to get some gain out of the situation, why would you throw the wallet back to the person you stole it from after you are already off of the train? Maybe the one thief's conscience started to bother him, maybe they got scared from all the yelling, or maybe there was a chance of getting caught and they decided to just give the wallet back, who knows. If I was in the same position as the thief, I would have probably been happy to get off the train and ran away. I also think the passengers did not act rationally. I know that whenever I am on the Metro, no matter where it is, and there is something like that going down, it is always helpful for someone to speak up. The passengers may have been afraid of the possibility of the thieves being armed, especially since it was a group rather than just one. But I do know that nowadays people would rather be safe and not get involved in such a situation. I probably would have stayed quiet if I was on the train too. I believe that the problem of Thinking Strategically that was addressed in the story is very true, and since I am not usually the one to initiate, I would have stayed quiet also or assumed I couldn't be of any help. The conductor definitely acted irrationally however. He should have at least tried to help instead of telling the victim to get away from the door so he could move the train, ignoring the victim's pleas for help. I would have stopped the train and called the police or the security at the station. The conductor was probably just thinking of himself and his own welfare and wanted to get home.