A Cycle Worth Repeating

• The recession of 2008 hit as the real-estate bubble burst, and the Troubled Asset Relief Program bought $700-billion worth of troubled assets. General Motors (GM) declared bankruptcy. There was a 7.2-percent unemployment rate nationwide.*

An Explanation

A decade full of risks concluded with thousands of victims, but oddly there was no one to blame. How was this possible?

The answer is simple–the anonymity of technology allowed for the truth to hide.

• How did Enron collapse? The real numbers were hidden in the computerized account programs.

• What happened to the space shuttle? Errant numbers were configured in the formulas.

• Why did FEMA take so long? The programs weren’t built for rapid deployment.

• How did GM get so far behind on its debts? Fearful employees were unable to hide losses among the misstated figures any longer.

• How did Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s problems avoid exposure for so long? Staff moved unresolved debt from program to program until they ran out of places to hide it. Then it was too late to fix, so it had to explode.

We assuredly need technology. We need these changes and advances to move forward as a society, but we shouldn’t sacrifice integrity, responsibility, and ownership in this age of anonymity. It is what distinguishes us from our animal friends on the other side of the bars at the zoo.

Do you think the fortunes of people like the Carnegies, Mellons, and Rockefellers came from avoiding or embracing responsibility? Look it up on Wikipedia.

*United States Department of Labor

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at rdc@clevelandmetroparks.com.

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