Thursday, September 29, 2016

If You Can't Play by the Rules, What Should You Do?

(From last summer:)

Listening to the radio (Asahi Broadcasting 1008 ABC -- Dojo Yozo, my wife's choice), Russia's repeated efforts to show the world they are superior by irregular means are in the news again.

Superior by irregular means.

That means cheating.


LinkedIn sends me lists of current hot topics on their news regurgitator uhm, aggregater, and I took the bait last night.

Something about Wells Fargo's top level management getting to sit in the hot seat while some Congresscritter wonk roasted him.

My mom explained something interesting to me when I was a teenager.

Roasting people is easy.

Helping put the pieces back together is much, much harder.

Putting the pieces back together after a roasting is very much harder still.

Which activity has more value?

If Stumpf is a criminal and should commit 切腹 (seppuku) resign as a self-induced punishment, it looks to me like Warren is a hypocrite and a criminal. What should she do?

Yes. What the top management at every bank is doing to make ends meet is unsavory. They should quit doing that. Management should take severe pay cuts.

(The obscene pay rates were a proximate cause, of course.)

What Congress is doing is also unsavory. Let's go back to the Russian Olympic team.

If you can't win by the rules, what should you do?

A real sportsman's answer will be
Take pride in playing the game well, right, and fair. And playing hard, of course. It's not nearly as much fun if you don't put your heart in it.
The guy who is in the game for some reason other than the game will have other answers.

Some will shrug their shoulders because they don't really care.

Maybe they'll quit playing because it's too hard. That would be their answer, and maybe it's not a bad answer. At least they will step out of the way, even if they quit supporting the game.

Maybe they won't quit because, hey, it's a better way to kill time than doing drugs (or pornography, etc.). Their answer will be, "nothing special," which is also not necessarily a bad answer. Every game needs people who support the game by just being there.

Others will suffer angst. Why would they suffer angst? Probably precisely because they are not in the game for the game, but for some external gain.

The Russians (not the players, the politicians) are apparently in it for political influence. They are not the only ones.

Others will be in the game for monetary or other kinds of gain. So many are in it for praise -- from parents, coaches, teachers, friends, or even from people they don't even know.

Those who are in the game for gain external to the game have motivations which can not be moderated by consideration of the game. They don't care if their winning destroys the game.

If they cannot moderate their ambition, they must win.

At all costs, they must win.

Even if it destroys the game, they must win.

What will they do if they can't win the game?

Change the rules.

Sometimes we talk about "game changers" with awe. Changing the game can be a good thing.

But when it means letting certain players (and we all know who they are) use performance enhancing drugs, it doesn't just change the game, it destroys the game for those who don't want to use performance enhancing drugs.

I've thought about making two versions of the Olympics -- not that I have the power or authority to do so, but as a suggestion, perhaps, or maybe as a plot element in a novel.

One version would be for non-professionals. Maybe they train for an hour or two a day, but not for eight hours a day. They have other jobs to put food on the table. Life doesn't end if they lose.

Another version would be for semi-professionals. They train for more than six hours a day. They probably don't have other jobs. Life changes drastically if they can't win at least a few every now and then.

That much has been regularly suggested, but it's hard to figure out how to make it work. (We do have the world amateur games, sometimes.)

Maybe we could have a full-on professional world sports showcase. These games could be no-holds barred. Practice 12 hours a day. Use every technological aid you can. Performance enhancing drugs? Sure. Risk suicide if winning is so important. These games would be for the crowd whose life ends if they lose.

The problem is still how to make it work. You need rules. Lots of rules. Detailed rules.

The rules change the game.

If you can't win by the rules, change the rules. Add more rules to help your side.

So, what about Warren and Stumpf and the banks that have to win at all costs?

It's not just Wells Fargo, of course. That's part of Warren's duplicity. It's pretty much every major bank, and not just the banks that are cross-selling when they should be just letting the customer alone.

It's not just Dodd whatever, not even just Sore beans and Oak leaves. That's another part of the duplicity.

Sure, I agree with some of what Warren said, but she wasn't interrogating. She was committing the logical fallacy of taking target practice on a sitting duck. Shooting fish in a barrel.

It looks cool, and it accomplishes zero except helping her win in the public image contest.

We have to win. We can't back down.

So, what is the solution?

More laws?

Give me a break.

It comes back down to you and me -- to bringing back a social atmosphere where the multiple errors of the meme,
Nice guys finish last. 
are well known, and understood and accepted by all.
Nice guys finish. They sometimes finish first, even when the game is rigged.

The overly ambitious burn themselves out, and try to take the rest of us down with them. And they never finish.

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