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Maybe They Shouldn't Be So Arrogant

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I've been experiencing some synchronicity lately. First, after decades of thoughtless de-regulation, Wall Street is being forced to rely on huge government bailouts to avoid liquidation. So much for the "Masters of the Universe." Second, Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett Packard CEO, makes some pretty condescending remarks about the ability of McCain or Obama to run a Fortune 500 company. And third, a couple of days ago I attend a debate between a venture capitalist dabbling in a controversial public policy issue and a respected academic who researches the topic. Let's just say the result of the debate was entertaining - Mr. Moneybags was beaten so badly that he was reduced to weakly stating that his arguments were "just his opinion" while he was sarcastic and defensive to questions from the audience.

It is a near-constant in human nature that an expert in one area believes they are an expert in others. This characteristic is exacerbated when a profession is held up by the society at large as a model and is feted on magazine covers. For years we've been hearing about the brilliance of corporate america and its leaders. They're so cool, we've been told, that we should let them "do their thing," accept their instructions, and everything will be hunky dory. Even now, with all of their manifest failures (I'm talking to you US automakers!), they still think they know best. And their chosen political agents have made a similar mess of the country at large. It's hard to find anything they've been right about.

It's a curious bit of logic:
Premise one: The market rewards success
Premise two: I am successful in the free market
Conclusion: Therefore, I am awesome.

And then this week addendum:

"Can I have some money when I totally screw everything up while you still worship at my feet, please?"

To which I must confess I'm tempted to respond: No.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 12:43 PM
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