Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Digital Rules / Moral Luck

Two great entries for me to quote from : Digital Rules and Moral Luck.

[M]ost politicians, economists and journalists act is if growth is a mirage and wealth is zero sum. What else accounts for today’s headlines screaming GM’s cut of 30,000 jobs? Does the creation of 30,000 jobs get equal treatment? Why not? That’s about how many jobs are born every week in the United States.

What causes some to take the zero-sum view?

Politicians, even the best and brightest, I think, become zero-sum thinkers over time because they occupy a zero-sum world. Only one person can be U.S. president. Only 50 can be governors. Only 100 can be Senators. The most creative entrepreneur in the world can’t change these facts. Politicians live in a world where one person’s gain is another’s loss.

Journalists at MSM organizations also live in a zero-sum world. There can be only one evening TV anchor, one top editor at a newspaper or magazine, a fixed number of columnists on the op-ed page . . . and thus the MSM puts out alarming stories about GM job cuts, trade and fiscal deficits, global warming, oil going to $100 a barrel and so on. Why does the MSM love environmentalists? Both share a zero-sum view of the world.

Two would-be assassins take shots at their intended victims. One hits and is guilty of murder. The other misses and is guilty of attempted murder—a crime, but a less serious one. And, legal distinctions aside, most of us will see the successful murderer as morally tainted by his act—a taint that his failed colleague, by pure chance, escaped.

Why the difference? Being a bad shot is not a moral virtue.

Both excellent points.

No comments: