People think if they can’t fly, they won’t be able to see their family. They think, “if I’m here and my parents or children are flying distance away, if I don’t fly, I won’t be able to see them.” They also think, “if my business can’t compete there, I’ll lose revenue and go bankrupt.” Then they conclude, “I may not want to pollute, but family is more important and I’m no good to anyone if I can’t afford to eat or pay rent, so I have to fly.”
I used to think people wanted to be close to their families all the time. It turns out people like to be far enough from their parents they can’t drop in any time, but close enough they can visit a few times a year. If planes are available, they’ll live flying distance away. If they aren’t, they’ll live train or car distance away. If cars weren’t available or they lived in a place with an effective bike infrastructure, they might live biking distance away.
One flight will bring you to a distant relative; flying in general will lead you to live flying distance away, decreasing your time with family and raising the cost. Systems work differently than elements within them.
As for business, I bet that at this moment there are people flying from New York to Los Angeles to sell people there some good or service and people flying from Los Angeles to New York to sell people there the same good or service. In other words, both businesses could have stayed where they were.
One flight enables you to enter new markets; flying in general forces businesses to compete everywhere all the time, decreasing the number of competitors and therefore innovation, yet raising costs.
Like most dependencies and addictions that give us a jolt of reward, flying gives us overall less of what we think we’re getting. Gamblers feel like winners while they lose. Meth users feel they have more energy while the rest of their lives when not high they have less energy. Social media users feel more connected while they become isolated. Flyers feel like they experience family, business, and nature while they become more distant from each.
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