Best Email Ever


I've used "Best Email Ever" way too many times for that headline to be credible. But really, this is pretty good stuff.  Here's a snipet from a post on The Big Picture (Barry Ritholtz's blog) (link):

“The old pay system (era of John Whitehead): you work at an investment bank for 30 years, have a reasonable draw and cash bonus, build up stock in the firm as most of your bonus, and when you decide to retire you request of the partners their permission to go limited. If they assent, you get to withdraw your money over five years, all the while continuing to expose the balance to the risks of the enterprise.

The new pay system post-Donald Lufkin Jenrette’s original I.P.O.: you’re a young 29-year-old punk playing with OPM (Other People’s Money), taking huge risks for which you get huge bonuses, while the outsiders shoulder the losses on your bets. You make all the money you’ll ever need in three years, stay around 15 years to pile up five times as much as you need, and then you retire with your cash hoard, buy a winery in Napa/Sonoma or a huge farm in Connecticut, living above the fray for the rest of your life.

Which system, do you think, makes people consider the downside of their actions?”

That explains a ton.  Really, it doesn't much insight into human behavior to see how badly the incentives line up here.  It wasn't just a housing crisis that brought us to the brink in 2008.

"It's just like our job"

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Jon Stewart sets them up, then knocks 'em down.

When it rains...

Really awful story on the tents provided to Haiti (link):

Hurricane season in Haiti officially began three weeks ago, bringing rain to the region nearly every day. More than 1.5 million Haitians remain in the streets. Yet this week, the United Nations completed a study, revealing that 40 percent of all emergency shelters, including tents and tarps, already need to be replaced or "improved."

It took the international community five months to distribute almost 700,000 tarps and 70,000 tents and remains one of the most complex and difficult accomplishments of the disaster response. The new study, however, shows that emergency shelter materials cannot withstand the extreme weather in Haiti. In particular, small camping-style tents have fallen apart.

(Hat Tip: Marginal Revolution)