Monday, December 17, 2007

Hubris and truth

Or, ought we use some phrase like 'Divine right of kings' as indicative of a modern and moral hazard. Actually, it's the absence of protection against predatory practices that is the key.

Example, when we travel, we don't expect that we need to arm ourselves against highwaymen. Yet, pirates do lurk in some corners. Well, similarly for business practices, there has to be a better way to protect the innocent and less capable (it's probably politically incorrect just to posit that some need protection - evidence abounds).

Hubris is what this blog is not about; yet, are not there classes of people (albeit a small set compared to the total) who think that they have rights to what they want even if the effect might be to trash the lives of (myriad of) others?

This isn't meant to cover felonious assaults of various natures (ratings of grossness are possible); some white-collar (or executive) mis-deeds are really as abusive as gross assault (or even worse - as they may subject someone to oodles of time in essentially a state that is not far from torture [oh, yes, that seems to be the American way now, ..., oh, again, it has always been - to date, it's been more subtle]). The bully can be controlled or avoided; it's the underhanded tricks that are more difficult.

So, we could have a story about the CEO as the new 'King' (all sorts of variations are possible on this theme - new royalty). Sometimes it seems as if there is a notion that a 'Divine right' has been given. Of course, many times it's just an assumption that success is inevitable.

Now, back to operational issues and bringing up a checklist (example, medical use). It might go something like this.

1) Is this a repeat of some past performance?
2) How much is the same in terms of factors, environment, etc.?
3) How well do we know the factors dealing with things that have changed?
4) Do we have a handle on the cardinality of the unknown unknown set and to what degree?
5) ...

Get the drift? Anything past item 2 would be experimental (thereby bringing in uncertainty).

But, guess what, even item 1 would have associated uncertainty, the matter of it being small or large would be a function of the domain and other particulars.


08/04/2012  -- Over five years, we had a lot of side trips. We'll try to focus more. BTW, Rumsfeld has recently had his say.

11/12/2008 --

Well, things feel apart fairly quickly, starting in September of 2008. By N0vember, there was general spooking. Starting in September, movements toward nationalization sped so fast that it was easy to forget that a Republican administration was still in the White House. Talk about rewarding hubris and moral hazardness!!!!


But, it's not just the CEO though that one sets the tone for a business (oh, attempts to; succeeds at times). The most recent Business Week has an article about 'ugly side of microlending' which ought to be an eye opener. Even our beloved store out of Arkansas (WM) is involved. What we have here is just trashing an idea that was meant to be mostly benevolent in nature (a helping hand to allow a fresh start). We end up with practices that end up with borrowers having to pay 100+%, many getting bound into some rapidly expanding balance (gosh, we think that the sub-prime thing is bad - this more than stinks).

WM wasn't able to get banking okay in the US.

Modified: 08/04/2012

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