Ok, so bear with me here.  My A level economics result was lamentable at best, but I did take the odd thing from it.  I was always drawn to Pareto’s principle – that roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Wikipedia has some good examples, such as the fact that in Italy 20% of the population owns 80% of the land or that 80% of crime is carried out by 20% of criminals.

The Pareto principle goes a lot deeper and gets a whole lot more complex, and at that point my poor brain shuts down and runs from the room shouting la la la la la la whist I forge on with my own analogy to life, parenting and pretty much everything.

Take parenting for example. It’s hard.  No one can ever warn you of quite how tough it’s going to be, that there are days when you will feel completely unequipped to cope with the whole thing, and would rather lie in the garden reading your book whilst your children sit glued to Ben10 Alien Force *cough*.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that 80% of the time it’s tougher than tough – obviously this depends on your definition of tough, and how many children you have, and also the fact that it’s vital that you don’t look to your children to make you happy.  That leaves 20% of the time where it’s pretty good, sometimes great, occasionally fantastic.

Oh, and my other loosely held economic beliefs? Prices will rise and politicians will philander – taken from one of my all time faves, appearing (not for the first time on my blog) here:


I’ve just discovered Mama’s Losin’ It! runs a writing workshop so I’m linking up this post to her prompt NO1…

Pareto and other loosely held economic beliefs….
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19 thoughts on “Pareto and other loosely held economic beliefs….

  • August 11, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Oh I am so with you on this one, parenting has great days or crap days and no inbetween days.

    I am starting to flag, midweek blues I call it

  • August 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I love this post Paula, but your line of “…it’s vital you don’t look to your children to make you happy” is pretty profound.

    It seems to be one of those modern day myths that the sheer act of having children will make you happy but in fact, often it doesn’t and can in fact, make you pretty darn miserable. (There was a spate of media interest in some research backing this up recently but really all us parents know this anyway. It’s one of the “secrets” you learn post childbirth I think.)

    I don’t mean to say this all in a negative way, just that you are right – parenting is hard work and as grown ups it is our responsibility to ensure we have happiness in our lives from sources other than our kids. I try to aim for that and the result is (sometimes) an improved ability to face the tough bits of parenting which I might not have the strength for, had I not sought happiness from other areas of my life. That coupled with the 20% of parenting which isn’t so tough result in my thinking kids are marvellous.

    Well, sometimes 😉

    MD xx

  • August 11, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I found out about the 80% / 20% thing when we had the new school built. As for paretning, I do SO agree with you (& MD ) about not relying on your children to provide your happiness. When I married my DS father, his mother lost 2 stone & has never really got over not having him around!!

  • August 11, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I have nothing to add. You’ve said it all xxx

  • August 11, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    The only example I know is that motorbike comprise 20% of traffic but have 80% of the accidents. But I defnitely agree with the stuff about how hard bringing up children is and I didn’t have the distraction of twitter & facebook then! I don’t know how you fit everything in. Keep up the good work!

  • August 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I’ve heard of this 80/20 thing before but never looked into it – thanks for adding to my MASSIVE to-do list 😉 LOL

    Love your comparisons.

  • August 11, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    For me, the economics of Pareto’s efficiency beg the question, “who of the 80 will look out for the 20?”

    You’re so right on the parenting issue.

  • August 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I had my worst day ever this week – think we’d hit the mid holiday point and everyone had a meltdown. Time to start reintroducing normal bedtimes and some sort of routine before things get completely out of hand! x

  • August 12, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Bang on hon – I’m sure there’s a correlation between expectation and subsequent misery, it’s time that more of us were honest about how tough it all is. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love my children – far from it – it just means that I’m not prepared to pretend that it’s always the most incredible thing.

    And yes, absolutely – look to the other areas of your life for happiness and satisfaction. It is our job to keep our children safe and do everything we can to make them happy – it is not their job to return the favour!


  • August 12, 2010 at 10:06 am

    OMG Julia! But it’s such a common thing isn’t it? And easily done – we’re all so busy with the mundanity that it’s easy to forget to make some time for yourself, then before you know it they’ve gone and you’re left bereft – me-time is deffo the way forward! x

  • August 12, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I felt much better as a result! xx

  • August 12, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Yes, the motorbike one is another good example…..and, for the record, I don’t fit it all in!

  • August 12, 2010 at 10:20 am

    LOL, not a problem Nic – it’s not like you’re busy or anything is it?! x

  • August 12, 2010 at 10:20 am

    oooh, socio economics *puts on nerdy hat* excellent…… I expect a blog post on this pronto!

  • August 12, 2010 at 10:35 am

    What’s wrong with taking time for yourself to read if you kids are occupied?

    Visiting from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

  • August 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    It was more the insinuation that I’d like to spend the whole day doing it 😉

    Thanks for the visit.

  • August 12, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Yes I agree. It is indeed really rather shockingly tough but the remaining time is actually quite perfect

  • August 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    The yin and yang – can’t have one without the other it would seem 🙂

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