Sunday, 15 July 2012

The balance between action and procrastination

This week's Economist carries a most significant article - about finding the balance between a) rushing and b) taking it easy. The article comes to the (unsurprising) conclusion that neither extreme is good. Unsurprising?

Maybe not to the testosterone-charged get-it-done-quickly merchants that are responsible for leading the world into economic crisis ("we want higher turnover, higher profits and we want them now"). These alpha males (and males they usually are) are driving their teams ever onwards and upwards - often without thinking where to.

And maybe not to life's whingers, who think that the world is unjust, because their slothful existence has failed to provide them with all the baubles that advertising has led them to believe they are entitled to.

In my blog posts, I've been regularly castigating Poland's public sector for sloth, indecisiveness and lack of motivation - indeed, this is one end of the spectrum that must receive regular castigation. The other end, those bankers and managers, taking risks with (other people's) money also needs to be kept in check.

Finding the optimal way forward is always about balance. Not too quick, not too slow. Not too high, not too low. My mother was fond of telling my brother and me the story of Icarus and Daedalus - "Daedalus interea, Creten longumque perosus..." she would recite, the story of how Daedalus instructed his son to fly away from their Cretan prison with wings he'd fashioned from wax and birds' feathers... "I warn you, Icarus, to fly in a middle course, lest, if you go too low, the water may weight your wings; if you go too high, the fire may burn them. Fly between the two."

Finding the optimal course between two extremes is the key to a successful life. Greed and sloth are two poles towards which modern man has skewed too close in recent years. Greedy men have exploited the lazy - this is mere biology. As sententious human beings, we can determine our course, we must work together towards mutual progress.

This time last year:
The verb 'to fuss' in Polish?

This time four years ago:
Plans for Mysiadło and Nowa Iwiczna

1 comment:

AndrzejK said...

I remember a friend of mine reviewing the 10 year business plan of a major cellular phone operator. This was to be the basis of an investment decision which was due to be ratified by the parent board within days. On closer inspection the turnover growth projections were such that within 8 years each Pole (man, woman and child) would have to have 3 mobile phones in use for 50 hours each and every day. And guess what, the business plan had been built up by clever alpha males with MBA's and inflated egos.

Same type of thinking which assumed that unemployed Americans would be capable of repaying the mortgages on homes with a design life of 20 years.

Oh and Alan Greenspan apologising that the had forgotten to factor in human greed!!!

And a bloody cheek claiming that it was the London City which insisted on allowing retail banks to also act as merchant banks. Years ago commodity brokers were not allowed to be traders and vice versa as clients would not know whether they were speculating on their own account or at the cost of clients (using their money)

As an economics graduate I could never understand why the stock market should grow faster than the economy. The only way this can logically happen is if people take an ever lenghtening long term view. SPHERICAL OBJECTS!!!!