Anyone who has ever worked in a bureaucracy will have figured out what's wrong with our world. Apocalyptic risks can present themselves in no uncertain terms to the market and still evoke the calmest, most dazed and serene of reactions. Solutions to calamitous problems can stare a herd in the face, and the herd will stare blankly back without even the slightest pupil dilation.
Bureaucracies and herds turn good people into fodder. They turn action into circular motion, friction and heat. Inertia is one of the greatest forces on earth. Given a path that doesn't work, the bureaucrat will always demand trying harder, in the same direction.
A friend of mine once did work for a tire manufacturer making wheels which were heptadecagons. They didn't work as they weren’t circular and resulted in a lot of 'volatility' for their clients.
Try a circle, he said, it works better. No, he was told, our molds are heptadecagons, so please just make more and sell more heptadecagonal tires.
The passengers will be vibrated to death, he said. The auto manufacturers will not buy our tires. They would have a liability. Which they might even pass back to us.
How about a discount? Or perhaps we can give our salesmen incentives to sell.
OK, but then they'd be selling something nobody wants.
We used to sell tons of those tires, came the retort.
Well, yes, but back then, streets were cobbled. Nobody noticed our wheels were heptadecagonal. Today, things have changed. Streets are paved with tarmac, they're smooth and clients will notice the bumpy ride of our tires. The car makers will not buy tires which jolt their suspensions to bits and vibrate their passengers into the 4th dimension.
Really? How are you going to sell smooth tires until you've successfully sold our heptadecagonal tires? Let's get the basics right first, before we try these funky ideas.
Yes, but nobody wants our heptadecagonal tires. They want smooth tires.
What are you talking about? We have some round tires in stock but no one has bought any. If you can't sell round tires, you'd better sell heptadecagonal tires.
The reason we can't sell our round tires is that our sales people only have expertise with heptadecagonal tires. We need to train them. And besides, our sales people have recently been asked to sell shock absorbers as well. They don't have time to do both. And their commissions are much higher for shock absorbers. Many of them refuse to sell any tires, round, heptadecagonal or square for that matter.
Look, you'd better just get on with it. You're way behind in sales of tires. And shock absorbers.
Shock absorbers? I have enough on my plate that I have to make the bloody tires I'm selling and nobody will give me the round moulds. Why on earth do we even have heptadecagonal tires in the first place?, he said.
They are much easier to make. You know how hard it is to make a perfectly round tire? And you can't even sell our heptadecagonal tires...
Because nobody wants them. We need round tires. And how about separating manufacturing from sales?
Just sell the damn heptadecagonal tires. If you sell enough of them then you can invest some time and money into the round tires but you've got to do the low hanging fruit first. Maybe then we'll get you someone in manufacturing. They said.
Under his breath he muttered, the low hanging fruit are necrotic, you idiots.
And before long there is a lawsuit against tire manufacturers who are genetically incapable of making a round tire, thus resulting in a class action suit by plaintiffs who have been rattled to death on their 17 sided wheels resonating their car chassis until they are spat out of their sunroofs like a low level James Bond villain being ejected for being tedious.