Vygotskian Writings Теоретическая психология Выготскианские тексты

The competitor’s costs and profit

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The competitor’s costs and profit

Can the MOSI be used, then, in a calculation by economic psychology to determine in dollars, Euros or Hungarian forints the price of excellence if somebody comes first in a group of ten or shares the second and third place with someone else in a population of a thousand?

We must admit that our method is not adapted for such calculations: it can reckon with social identity only insofar as it is a relation, thus, also the value of an identity may meaningfully be calculated only as related to the one of another identity.

Can then the MOSI be employed to calculate the sum of money worth paying for promotion from 9th place to 7th place in a group of a hundred queuing up for something?

It depends. The MOSI is adapted to reckon with those relations as related to their historical antecedents.

E.g., if previously I have got to the 9th place from the 13th one, then it may be calculated that thereby my E-value got increased from 87 to 103, that is, by 16 point. Suppose that the work, money etc. I invested in this performance amounted to 400. These antecedents altogether (and nothing but these) define for me (and for nobody else but me) the “dues” for 1 point of E-value increment as equalling to 25. Thus, we can answer the above question: the E-value of the 7th place being 115, i. e., larger by 12 point than the 9th place, the monetary equivalent of this promotion on such a background of its prehistory proves to be 300.

When using the MOSI, it should be taken into account that among competitors, a missed effort results not only in the lack of a rise in status, but also in a lowering of status compared to competitors who in the meantime have made their own efforts.

If in the previously evoked case I miss efforts to be done for acceding to the 7th place, its alternative will be not the getting bogged down at the 9th place but a slipping back in relation with those others who do compete. If such an issue ranked me only at the next place to the background, i.e., to the 98,6 points 10th place, it would change the price of getting to the 7th place, and for two reasons. First of all, because my past investment of 400 points in the performance of getting ahead from the 13th place turned out to improve my E-value not by 16, but only by 11,6 points (from 87 to 98,6), thus, the equivalent of a one point improvement proves to be 34,5 instead of 25 points. And, secondly, when my efforts being done, as compared with their not being done, provides me the 7th place instead of the 10th and not the 9th place thereby provides me a 16,4 and not just 12 points growth in the E-value. The summed up issue of this double shift is that the rise in status at stake equals to 566 and not just 300 points. It follows from the above that in neglecting to make an effort we pay not only by failing to get on, but also by losing the position we have already acquired. This raises the question of how much it is worth when this does not occur and when we can maintain the position we have.

The measure of outstanding social identity is suitable not only for rational calculation concerning status and money, but also for predicting decisions regarding these as they occur in reality. This is proved by everyday experience and experiments in economic psychology alike.

In an (unfinished) experiment each partici­pant received 1000 token dollars and had to register out of a price list items that s/he intended to spend the money on firstly, secondly, thirdly etc. Some commodities were chosen only by three persons (out of 100 participants of the experiment), others by 41 people. Each of the subjects got a summarized feed back from this choice of the population, but this feed back was forged at a precise point: each subject got informed as if the item s/he put at the head of his/her list would be chosen by the first choice of 49 people.

Following this procedure the subjects were given the information that a token warehouse, which they can enter only one at a time, contains enough stock for a hundred people to spend their money, but that there are only three of each type of item [8]. Thus, the order of the customers’ entry to the warehouse was rendered crucial from the point of view of purchasing: only the first three shoppers could be sure that they could get the goods they wanted.

After being provided with this information, the subjects were given the opportunity to buy their place in the queue, too, from their 1000 $ spending money: a computer ranked the shoppers according to the sum of money they offered for the places. Shoppers could improve their positions by increasing their bid, while similar offers by competitors diminished the effectiveness of these increased bids.

In the first round of the sale 20 out of the 100 subjects put 100 points, almost as round a sum, 50 and 150 points was put by 10 people each. In this round the first place would be procured by 170 points, but those two persons who bade 160 points would get a shared 2-3rd place, while the above 10 people with their 150 points shared the 4-13th place, thus, the prices being almost the same while the places were quite different. Hence, a pressure was very strong for bettering the person’s offer in order to better his/her place or prevent him/herself from being pushed more in the background by others’ overbidding. At the same time, low bids got still lower, since those getting for their 30-40 dollars last places realized that they may have it for (almost) nothing as well.

In the meantime the sale was restricted by the fact that the more a shopper spent on securing full choice for his money, the less money he would have to buy the goods he had freely chosen.

Instructions given to the subjects indicated the rule whereby the final outcome of the game would be fixed by the computer at the moment when no more shared places existed between the players. When this finally occurred through the raising and lowering of bids, it was very interesting to see that the ratios between the bids closely corresponded to those proportions calculable on the basis of the measure of outstanding social identity.


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