July 19, 2012
People forget that a nominally free society is based to a great part on voluntary association and the conforming of behaviour and resources for a system and the greater good.
That is, a democratic republic is a government of, by, and for the people.
But if the structural makeup of society becomes a rigged game, where the outcome does not matter because most if not all of the gains will go to the top, and most of the work and pain will be sent rolling downhill, people become alienated from that system once they realize its a no win game.
It reminds me of a striking insight that a normally bright eyed quant had one day, some twenty years ago. Speaking of the massive corporation for which we both worked he said, “This place has become all stick and no carrot.”
And he was right. The management of this corporation was so intent on serving itself that it no longer cared about the people who worked for it. They only spoke with themselves, rewarded themselves (handsomely I should add), and made increasingly self-serving decisions for the company to benefit not the company itself but themselves.
Perhaps I will write more on this some day, but suffice to say the ‘brain drain’ out of that company became a torrent, and within five years the accumulated bad decisions of management over the years drove it into bankruptcy, made palatable only by a takeover by another firm that allowed it to save face.