Everyone once in a while, we read a story or observe a behavior that challenges our mental constructs–those notions of cause and effect that support our bias and beliefs. For me, the Bloomberg story of charities and telemarketing brought me to a stand still. I just did not want to believe the greed and self-absorbed rationale that I attribute to the corporate world had invaded charitable organizations. But alas it has.
- Contracts calling for 85% of money raised in a telemarketing campaign going to the telemarketer.
- Charities using loss leader programs to encourage lifetime giving.
- Charities misleading donors about the nature of contributions.
These actions are very consistent with the mindset and rationale of bankers who charge commissions on individual transactions, regardless of the cumulative effect on customers. At its worst this mindset would rationalize a person being a good Samaritan in a convenient moment and in another staying silent because it was risky to be involved. My action was good in the minute, becomes the standard judgment. Resulting effects over time are never evaluated. One, takes the gains from every individual action, but never accepts the totality of impact from a series of actions.
In mathematics, we learn that complex systems are not necessarily the sum of the individual parts. Interactions exist, that help derive the system results. Unfortunately today’s system of economic rewards: bonus, commissions, etc. does not grasp the concept.
A subject worthy of more thought.