Friday, May 28, 2010

Maximum Pain Point

A few years ago, a marketing guy I worked with tried to explain to me how the theory of maximum pain applies in retail pricing. Being that both subject areas are largely unfamiliar to me, I was not able to appreciate the finer details of the explanation I was given but I came away with a rudimentary understanding of the concept.

If two parties are involved in any kind of transaction with one being the position to gain at the cost of the other's pain, there is a threshold beyond which increasing the pain to increase gain no longer works. For the would be gainer, it is important to know how far to go and when to stop so they can turn in the most profit. Even if how I interpreted what my co-worker told me completely wrong, I found good use for this potentially fallacious theory elsewhere.
To that end, I believe the woes of employment based immigrants in America is  related to the notion of maximum pain. Depending on where your home country is you will have different levels of tolerance. Make an young professional from Sweden wait five years from an US Green Card, the chances are they will just return home - that amount of time would go over their maximum pain point. It stands to reason therefore that wait times for permanent residency vary dramatically by "country of chargeability"

Now, with someone from India that number may compute to ten or fifteen years or even more - God knows we are a very patient and infinitely tolerant people with a deep seated aversion to making any unnecessary waves. So, it makes sense to allow the process take just that long to complete. Maybe the the characteristics of the total population from a certain country waiting in line contributes to what that magic final number will end up being.

My sense is whatever the math, it results is a fantastically high number for the desis of the world and hence the mind numbing wait times without any light at the end of the tunnel. That would also explain why the movement of dates, the availability of visa numbers and other such inherently quantitative data simply cannot be solved using regular math.

2 comments:

ggop said...

Hmm...never thought of it this way.
I wonder if Indians (or PRC citizens) stuck in EB* priority list would just move out of the US after 5 years would things change. Would the INS sit up and notice?

Mayuresh Gaikwad said...

I do not think it is because we are an infinitely patient community. We accept the long wait because the other option /9of returning back) is (or at least was) much worse for most of us. So, we would rather stay and wait!