On Following Suit
As people respond to incentives, they will changetheir behaviors if they perceive that costs orbenefits change. This principle seems to find wideapplication in our daily lives. When collegegraduates learn that receiving a master degree willgive them an upper hand in the job market, manydecide to take part in post-graduate entranceexaminations. In China, it is regarded as following suit. Though we admire those who pridethemselves on sticking to their ideals and principles, odds may not be against those who followsuit.Generally speaking, there are both advantages and disadvantages of following suit.
Firstly, following suit is indicative of the fact that followers have no indispensable beliefs orfixed principles and hence they are flexible in the vicissitudes of lives. When the social contextchanges and opportunities arise, those followers are the first to respond and make decisions.Take the English training service for example. In early 1990s, increasing number of collegegraduates decided to study overseas and hence English training service was in large demand.Given that forerunners had make a fortune by providing training programs to those graduates,many businessmen just followed suit and established several trainingschools. Undoubtedly,those who followed suit when the market did not reach saturation did make money.
Secondly, it is noteworthy that following suit can avoid making mistakes. For thoseforerunners, there is no previous information at their hand, and therefore, it will take a longtime to learn and improve by trial and error. During the period of trial and error, forerunnerswill encounter unexpected difficulties andpressures. As a result, when those becomesuccessful in certain domains, they have proved that the path will lead to success, providingboth pros and cons. On the contrary, followers need not experience the process of trial anderror. They can just imitate their forerunners’ proven pattern of behaviors and have easieraccess to success.There are also some disadvantages of following suit. When there are so manyfollowers, the world will become crowded and odds are against those later followers.
Furthermore, following suit prevents innovation and creation, which is to the detriment of oursociety. However, whether one should follow suit or not is not simply a to-be-or-not-to-bequestion. A basic assumption of individual person is that everyone is rational. So oneshouldcarefully calculate costs and benefits in specific circumstances before they decide tofollow suit or not.