by Chris Billowsin Spirit Speculations0 commentstags: Corporate Corruption, Corporations Don't Think, Institutional Learning
It is almost a year ago an individual, Brian Sinclair who was both physically and medically compromised died in the Emergency Room of our largest hospital. He died because for almost three days, he did not receive easily available antibiotics for a common bladder infection. Understandably, the media, public, and opposition parties were outraged and demanded heads. It was a disgusting display of neglect and failure. Despite evidence that Brian had initially approached the triage desk to alert the employees of his need, for close to three days, nobody bothered to treat Mr. Sinclair which led to his death. The government and health officials claimed systemic failure. They did not want to accuse any individuals of misconduct or failure. In one way, this can be seen as admirable as some employers employ scapegoating as a way of deflecting attention from themselves. But when is a “systems failure” simply a cop-out? I would argue that claiming “systemic failure” is just like scapegoating but instead of blaming an individual, a faceless system is blamed, and instead of being punished, it is to be fixed. It is more palatable to do since it is emotionally draining to discipline staff. Not to mention, there […]
by Chris Billowsin Business Beller0 commentstags: Corporate Corruption, Foolishness, Human Condition
I was reading about Bernie Madoff’s investment scandal and it suddenly struck me that defined-benefit pension plans (public and private) operate on the same principal as Madoff’s Ponzi plan. Bernie Madoff defrauded his investors of $65 billion dollars with a massive ponzi scheme. Madoff was smart by never offering suspicious high returns to everyone, but did guarantee a steady and modest return regardless of the state of the stock market. This latter point should be suspicious to any intelligent investor. Yet that is exactly what our public and private defined benefit plans are doing. They guarantee a return or benefit rate. Yet how can they do this? Just like Madoff did, by using new money brought in from new investors (or pension contributors) to help meet the payout obligations. As long as new citizens grow up and are forced to contribute to the pension plans, the plan remains viable. But, perhaps we would all be better served by a defined-contribution plan, where the return is based on how well one’s money is managed, instead of compelling citizens to make pension contributions to maintain unsustainable payouts.
by Chris Billowsin Business Beller0 commentstags: Change of Mind, Corporate Corruption, Free Enterprise
I have re-watched the Credit Crisis video a few times and each time its message really hits home. Not only was the crisis created by collective greed, but also a sophisticated scheme to generate money without actually contributing much useful. It was all about getting rewarded without doing any heavy work. Sure sounds like socialism. It is a socialist ideal to have people have all their needs met with minimal effort on their own part. Only within socialism are people allowed to make poor choices and still get away with it, because after-all the larger community will take care of you. Yet what we are witnessing is not socialism in its pure form. What we are seeing is a kind of socialism known as State Capitalism. This is where governments in the US, UK, and other places prop up their banks and financial institutions. This ends up saving and rewarding many of the same people who created the credit crisis. Yet, just like in the video, the state stood aside and allowed this to happen and even contributed to it by keeping interest rates too low. The state has to step in because it helped create the crisis in an […]