Friday, September 27, 2013

"Can't See The Wisdom For The Cleverage."

Commentary by Roger Erickson

This is so laughably clever (of savant insiders) that it's obviously dumb (to outsiders).

"Can't see the wisdom for the cleverage." That's my new mantra. I'm referring to group-wisdom vs individual-cleverness of course. Those two concepts work on entirely different levels. The first may not be either detectable or decipherable to the latter, no matter how heroic the intellect or work ethic combined in any given individual. No more so than one human neuron can perceive what a human CNS collectively can.

Multinationals beach tax bills in Spanish shells

"A rented office overlooking a dusty rail track near Madrid’s airport was until recently the workplace of what would appear to be the most productive worker in all of Spain.

From here a single employee presided over a company that from 2009 to 2011 made €9.9bn of net profits, all while earning an annual salary of only €55,000.

The person was working for ExxonMobil Spain SL, a holding company for the world’s largest oil group by value, which for several years used a relatively unknown part of Spanish tax law to transfer billions of euros from foreign subsidiaries to the US, helping to significantly reduce its tax bill."

Read more at the links please, or I'll be exiled or in jail as long as Ed Snowden and Bradley Manning, simply for sharing with all what some of us already know.

ps: Didn't Lew Platt of HP once say that “If HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times as profitable.” So why can't the human species know what the human species knows? Wouldn't WE be far more than just 3x better off for it? What part of social doesn't our supposedly advanced species yet understand?

If none of us are as smart as all of us, then it's surely also true that mistrusting any of us is never as dangerous as mistrusting all of us? To paraphrase, trusting only some of us is never as adaptive as trusting all of us simultaneously? There's safety in group transparency and group knowledge? Will I go to jail - or disappear - just for saying so?  If you really think so, then please copy this little text and distribute it, somewhere in posterity. :)

NSA staff don't yet look where the sun don't shine ... do they? :(


Ryan Harris said...

Measuring economic activity and productivity inside and outside companies is very difficult. It isn't only Exxon Mobile or done merely for tax avoidance. Since there are no (credible) standard accounting practices to measure value created in a complex global process, the value attributed to millions of employees in one country and a few employees in another can be radically manipulated. The appearance of high productivity, high value workers and the top 10% being wildly productive can be explained only by accepting some pretty outlandish claims on the lack of productivity and low values for other workers working on the same value production chain. Until government, economists and accountants come to grips with the problem, most economic measurements derived from the various numbers reported to government are so completely and wildly inaccurate as to be useless. Everyone shrugs because they don't like to second guess government statistics for fear of being labelled a conspiracy theorist or a libertarian but this gets to the heart of the issue of why accountants and businessmen think that labor has little value.

Roger Erickson said...

Thanks for the sane commnets, Ryan.

Goes straight to the fact that a complex, evolving system can't be governed by a rules-based approach.

Compare a economic market to a physiology.

There are no rules in physiology, only constant, feedback-based tuning of all local alignment to group adaptation. Such tuning is based on probability, not rules.

Closest we in a market economy can get is pursuit of intent and Desired Outcome, not rules?