Friday, April 03, 2009

Unintended Consequences

Decisions involves two things: making choices and dealing with the resulting consequences. Choiceless decisions and consequenceless decisions are no decisions at all. The intentions of the decisions are secondary; the actual consequences are primary.

The circumstances of, and reaction to, the recent resignation letter by a senior executive from AIG, which was published as an op-ed piece in the New York Times, illustrate the dangers of the woolly thinking involved in linking choices only to intentions and not to consequences.

The letter generated a huge response from readers, most of it negative, some of it even to the point of being scurrilous.

The policy of vilifying and demonising everyone that works in the financial services sector is bound to have the severe and unintended consequence of driving away many talented people from the sector. Which will ultimately be harmful to everyone's interests.

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