Risk-Shifting

Risk-Shifting

A long time before reading Taleb's Skin in the Game with his much broader application of the concept, I'd already realized that authority and responsibility had to match. Authority without consequence / responsibility for one's choices was the ultimate "power corrupts", and responsibility without any authority was to be a slave to the whims of others.

One example of how some dodge consequence is by offloading the risks onto others. Take "companies too big to fail." They get the profits when doing well (and fat salaries even when not), but when they implode, others lose their jobs, and the taxpayers get to bail them out.

As strongly as I believe that companies, composed of people, may not be people, but nevertheless the people in them have the right to do anything legal vis a vis supporting candidates, etc., you'll also find me the first to point out that the entire reason a company exists is to avoid liability - and that while they deserve the fruits of their success, we do not do enough to make the people running said large companies feel the bite when they screw up.

These people screw over those working for them because they are effectively untouchable, personally. Much like they look for the short term bottom line instead of the long term sustainability of the company and making truly strategic choices in development that may not pay off for years, but position them to reap the benefits well after the next quarterly report or annual stock meeting. They don't plan for when shit goes wrong, and supply chains get snarled.

They are fragile. Not just in the "antifragile" sense of the term, either.

Incidentally - yes, socialism is exactly that kind of risk-shifting. And given the tastes of millenials, we may get further calling it out for that than "oooh, socialism."

Which brings me around to some bits I saw from a Netflix documentary on Pandemics. There was of course the expected Trump-bashing, covered with a fig leaf of "objectivity". Entire segments apparently focused on the plight of helping "undocumented immigrants" get vaccinated and how not doing so was a health hazard to the US. No, the obvious answer was never even considered. Just the assertion "they'll come here anyway".

More to the point though, was how often a variant of "we need the (higher level) government to step up and give us money and resources" came up. Especially in the light of one rural female doctor who bemoaned how she became so absorbed in saving people that she enarly destroyed her marriage. There was always someone else to save. In short - there was only so much she could do.

So, of course, instead of realizing she may not be the only person in the same boat, and figuring out how to dial it back, she wants everyone else to contribute a share to her pet cause.

Because other people have less important things to do with their time and money.

No, it wasn't explicitly stated, but if you're going to take food and the money I worked for from my table and out of my pocket, the implication is there's something more important that justifies taking it. Indeed, when it comes to something like the defense of the nation, even though you may not have voluntarily signed up for a social contract, you have skin in the game to support a nation's or community's defense. And you can make a similar argument with quarantines and travel restrictions, mass vaccinations (at least when the vaccines actually work and save more lives than they harm) and other nationwide emergencies.

Some people simply live rural, and will never be close enough to a "real" hospital, even a small one. And given what a bottomless hole medical expenses can become, we can't afford to put other people on the hook for someone else. On the flip side, do you really want your access to health care to be governed by how much the powers that be like your stance on immigration, or any other subject?

He who has the gold makes the rules, but if they haven't had to earn that gold, and be custodians to maintain it for the future, there's no incentive to use it wisely or limit its use. Until it does. And when it does run out, how much authority do you want to give others to tell you "no"?

After all, they're not the ones with something to lose. Except power over others.

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.