Sympathy for the Devil

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Enron, AIG, Fannie Mae, Motor City USA... there's been plenty of unsettling news in the financial world varying from the criminal to the incompetent.  CEOs, CFOs, government overseers, etc. are entrusted by their Boards, company employees, stockholders, investors, citizens, etc. to dutifully carry out their responsibilities.

When one fails in this regard and it is exposed publicly, it seems we generally give credit  to "evil corporations," the greed of the wealthy, or the inadequacy of Capitalism... I think such opinions are usually colored by one's personal placement on the financial scale from pauper to filthy rich.

Working for a large corporation, there's always a certain measure of "Glad [insert name of financially wrecked company of choice] is not us."  We trust that those who execute our business strategy and manage the money jar do so with integrity.  However, given that human nature is what it is, there will always be those who do not conduct themselves honestly, whether Capitalist, Communist, a have or have not, CEO or french fryer.

If we look to a business competitor that fails, we would like to say "we're better than them."  And, certainly, the evidence would indicate that we are.  We would also like to think that we personally contribute to our own business' success.  In fact, we are paid and rewarded to do so.

But like the many "what if's" of life, what if I had interviewed with that company rather than this one?  All things being equal, it's entirely possible that I could be one of the many employees working honestly and diligently who suffers under another corporation's poor governance.  Random. Fated.  Karma.  Predestined.  Regardless of our own theological or existentialist beliefs, we can't be ultimately confident of why we end up in a certain place and not another.

Decisions are made, by us or for us.  We move through time under the consequences of those decisions.

I do not have sympathy for those who do not uphold the trust placed in them.   As good as the song is, Mick Jagger did not make a convincing case that we should have sympathy for those who do bad things.  I do have sympathy for those that suffer because of them.  Within the morality play of our lives, the Devil is in the details of the actions of every person and is as apparent in the consequences.


Which, on another (relatively minor) front, I found upsetting this morning.  A relatively short round of bill paying turned ugly as I realized I had not managed the details so well, myself.  It turned out to be one of those semi-annual battles captioned under the general banner of "things that go unexpected in Quicken," the financial software I use.

It turns out that the home amortization schedule I properly set at the beginning of the loan has not been adjusting the principal and interest with each payment.  It's a small thing, I know, as cash flow was not affected, but it's an irritant, a reminder that things set in place have to be looked after to make sure that they continue to work properly. 

Order is restored, for now.  My  lapse did not cause hardship for those who trust in me to manage the household finances.

Things tend toward disorder absent of energy put into the system.  It's apparent that a lot more energy needs to be applied to the nation's financial accounting as well.  Entropy happens.

"If the devil does not exist, and man has therefore created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness."

- an interesting thought from Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

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