The Airport/SimCity Paradox

The Airport Paradox aka the SimCity Paradox refers to the fickle and inconsistent nature of human beings and how they are never happy regardless of the lengths one goes to in order to please them.

Years ago, I was playing SimCity. I built myself a nice little (obsessive-compulsively symmetrically) town and it was doing well. I pulled up the mayoral summary to see how I was doing with the citizenry. The report indicated that I was mostly pretty popular with the Sims, except that they were demanding (yes demanding) an airport. So I built one.

I let a little time go by so that the Sims could enjoy their shiny new airport. I pulled up the summary again and saw that I was still doing well and the Sims were mostly happy except that they were upset about there being too much pollution and demanding (yes, the Sims are very demanding) that I do something about it. So I opened the pollution graph to see where the problem spots are, and where do you think all the pollution was coming from? Yup, the airport. It was solely responsible for the pollution problem. I demolished the airport and the pollution went down but, perhaps not surprisingly, the Sims complained that they wanted an airport.

I loosed the Godzilla.

(Technically, in the case of SimCity, you can have an airport and low pollution by surrounding it with tons and tons of parks—I guess in Simland, it’s perfectly okay if children, families, and pets choke on jet fumes, so long as the parks absorb the pollution. The point is that humans are never happy and always demand more.)