Friday, May 13, 2011

Who was he talking about?

At the Cognitive meeting that has just ended in Marmaris, one of the speakers said that a category of people indulge in "repeated risky behaviour despite explicit knowledge of potential losses".

Who would he have been talking about?

Well, it was about alcoholics who drive.

But it could equally describe bankers, or at least some of them.

In fact it is a description that suits bankers better.

What interested me is that the speaker went on to say that perhaps one should look for a "shared dysfunction" in the brain resulting in the reckless behaviour of drunken drivers, who know the possible consequences of their habit and other similar states, where the perpetrator has "explicit knowledge of potential losses".

Perhaps there is a dysfunctional brain organization that leads to states such as gambling, alcoholism and.....banking. These states have a common element - a habit indulged in in spite of the known, unacceptable, consequences.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Habit, compulsion, addiction - like a rat starving to death while stimulating its pleasure centres or running over an electrified floor to get another hit.

S.b. said...

Perhaps these risks are a way for them to feel 'alive'. They're so dull to everything around them that this is the only thing that can give them that jolting high and exhilaration.

In the case of bankers. They have achieved success and are at the zenith of their lives. It doesn't make sense to chase greed illegally and risk everything, unless your in it for the high, the risk of losing everything. That would awaken get anyones heart racing in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Does the banker perceive it as a risk in the way we might it? If at their zenith they might feel invincible and the 'risks' to them may be confirmation of this. I wonder how many risk taking bankers are also cocaine users?

Seb said...

Interesting point. SZ

Jocelyn Ireson-Paine said...

Have a look at the quote I put at the end of a blog piece I wrote on the day of the Lehman crash. It's from "Software in banking", a conference article written in 1973 for Software World. The speaker is describing the COBOL operations most used in banking, and how they reflect the nature of banking as he sees it — which is to take as few risks as possible. It's clear that in 1973, bankers did not act like rats compulsively seeking ever higher and higher jolts. Any explanation for their behaviour needs to take that into account.

S.Z. said...

Thanks for this.

But, no, bankers did not change.

Only their methods changed.