Benefits and costs of proposed choices include consequences that are long-term as well as short-term, and indirect as well as direct. The more remote the consequences of a personal or social decision, the harder it usually is to take them into account in considering alternatives. But benefits and costs may be difficult to estimate.
Learning Goal 2
In deciding among alternatives, a major question is who will receive the benefits and who (not necessarily the same people) will bear the costs.
Learning Goal 3
Social trade-offs are often generational. The cost of benefits received by one generation may fall on subsequent generations. Also, the cost of a social trade-off is sometimes borne by one generation although the benefits are enjoyed by their descendants.
Learning Goal 4
It is difficult to compare potential benefits of social alternatives. One reason is that there is no common measure for different forms of good. Another reason is that different groups of people place greatly differing values on even the same kinds of social good.
Learning Goal 5
Peaceful efforts at social change are most successful when the affected people are included in the planning, when information is available from all relevant experts, and when the values and power struggles are clearly under-stood and incorporated into the decision-making process.