Analysis of Desirable Relationships


In any relationship, there are two individuals1, and the possible types of relationships are relatively infinite2. For any specific relationship, there are generally costs and/or benefits for each individual engaging in that relationship3. Value is specific to individuals, and changes from one individual to the next, sometimes in highly unexpected ways4. Swapping individuals in the relationship quickly results in disaster5.

The opportunity cost6 is the default or natural state, in absence of the opportunity to pursue or engage in a relationship. An individual's desire to engage in a relationship could be determined as a subjective perception of the value of the relationship, relative to alternatives forgone7. Considering the possible combinations, if both persons desire a relationship, it is likely to happen, whereas if both persons do not desire a relationship, no relationship is likely to occur8.

Given one party presents opportunity, and the other party does not desire the relationship, so long as no relationship occurs - the transaction is equivalent to no offer having ever been made. If the relationship does occur, despite the desire to not engage in the relationship, problems occur.

Given one party desires a specific relationship and another does not, a conflict of desires occurs. Action towards this relationship will be against the desires of one party. It is impractical and impossible to enforce obligations on undesiring individuals given the vast world population; it is clearly far easier to simply seek another mutually-desirable relationship with another person. Attempts to enforce undesirable relationships as an universal ethic quickly breaks down into an illogical and contradictory mess9.

If a third party interferes in a relationship between two individuals, the two individuals are now said to have an (involuntary?) relationship with the third party.

Imposing and Coerced Relationships

Given an individual's desire to not participate in a relationship, the other individual may seek to alter the terms of the relationship as to increase incentives until the point the relationship becomes desirable. Alternatively, a person may seek to impose a relationship through the following means:

  • Imposing forcing a relationship on an individual regardless of the desires or actions of the other individual. Forcing, referring to overpowering the other individual's actions and desires.
  • Coercion: imposing undesirable conditions or perceptions on available alternatives, as to make the relationship relatively desirable than the new imposed opportunity cost.
  • Fraud: misinforming another individual as to influence an individual into a relationship, whereby that individual would not have participated given truthful information.

These imposed relationships are the basis for the concept of "violating the non-aggression principle" and why the non-aggression principle allows voluntary consensual relationships, while outlawing the "initiation" of physical force against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property.

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