The Fallout From AIG’s Bonusgate

March 25th, 2009   •   no comments   
Outrage Over Bonuses Makes Sense: Looks Like Old Times

“Stone her…she’s an adulteress.”  In some cultures, these words are still used today although we could reasonably expect this exhortation, easily, two thousand years ago as a sort of norm.  Groups of people dispensed justice.

Group behavior.  In my guess, that is partly what got AIG into trouble: following without being an effective follower.  (Effective followers are the ones who support effective leaders.)  The market wanted safe, high returns.  The elusive golden calf.  AIG delivered just what their customers wanted.  Without asking enough questions, obviously.

Now, the criticism of the bonuses paid out looks more like a stoning than anything else I’ve seen.  In response to EVP Jake DeSantis’ resignation that was posted online, there are more than 875 comments, and counting.  Each comment is generating one hundred or more recommendations.  (You can find it on the NYTimes website.)

From Blogger Pictures

I don’t know much but…it’s pretty clear to me that people are angry and confused.  In January 2009, another article described US workers as “jittery and compliant.”  Not the
kind of risk-oriented or trusting attitude that breeds innovation or would allow these $700K, after tax, bonuses to get paid without a comment. 

I have nothing to offer, no advice.  It’s pretty clear, to me, that this infuriating event looks more like an “electronic stoning” than, perhaps, anything else we’ve seen so far. 

There is no logic with which to dissect, analyze and understand this situation.  People are scared and understandably so: the species likes stability and predictability.  And, we don’t seem to have either.  It is a worrisome situation when so many are scared and a few are making some big money. We have each other, though.  Good thing, huh?  Might be all we can hang on to. 

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