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I think that's closer to the real reason. As a culture it seems we're more and more frequently engaging in selfish "optimizations," that are really just creating or ignoring negative externalities.

Corporations are especially guilty of this, given how pathologically focused they are on shareholders. Often their cost-cutting verges on customer abuse: (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21513556, for an example I recently read about).




Have you ever worked for a company and felt like most of your time was spent negotiating the misaligned incentives within that organization? One aspect I found in orgs like that is that they rely on a culture of isolation or conflict between departments.

The worst example of this I experienced was a purchaser buying parts that were not to the spec of the design and caused problems in the field. No one in engineering or support was told of this and it was discovered by our support team in the field. Then engineering had to step in and and say no, only to have to economically justify the increase in cost to meet the spec.

We hurt our customers, our product and lost future revenue due to a tarnished reputation. It is difficult to be proud of what you do when something like this happens. It is also unnerving to know that this could even happen in the first place.

All of this is due to short sited economics. Negative externalities be damned. Could it be better if we could measure negative externalities in dollars and cents? How does one economically measure trust?


When I used to do engineering that requirement procurement, we would have a checkbox that it is a critical component and needs engineering approval to substitute.




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