I want to float an alternative idea. I think "criminal thinking" is a natural and logical strategy (heuristic) when one grows up in an environment where promises are not kept.
I want to give you some quick sketches of some of my children's friends.
The summer "M" was 14 years old, she was promised $100 a month if she watched her younger sister. "M"'s younger sister is an absolute pistol. "M" could not have friends over while watching her sister for 10 hours a day. At the end of the summer "M" and her mom when shopping for back to school clothes. When the pile of clothes totted up to $300 "M"'s mother shut the checkbook and said, "There...you are paid." The mom did not pay another dime for clothing.
"S"'s mom receives a monthly check to support "S". She promised "S" a new phone when the check came in. "S"'s mom likes to party. She made that promise every month for the last six months. "S" still does not have his phone.
|Prospect Theory tells us that we are three times more sensitive to "losses" than to "gains". Our agony is three times more intense over a loss than the joy we feel at an equivalent sized gain.|
Sidebar: When I worked in a large corporation, every division was given a different ROI hurdle. The cynics laughingly called it "the liars premium". Divisions that exercised less optimism in their economic projections had lower RIO hurdles than divisions that cooked their business plans. The irony is that very few projects were unfunded. Each division cooked the business case just enough to meet the hurdle. Over time, that resulted in a glacial creeping of the RIO hurdles to the point where they bore no connection to the commercial rate of borrowing money.
The answer would have been to not promote any of the executives until their project had actually delivered the promised RIO for eight quarters in a row. That would have caused much back peddling.
The broken promises start from the highest levels. "If you like your health insurance, you can keep your health insurance." There is not much I can do about the people at that level. But I can be careful with my promises. I can promise less and deliver more. Especially to my children.