[ExI] Restructuring executive compensation

Brian Atkins brian at posthuman.com
Sat May 30 20:28:40 UTC 2009

Max, Bill is right that it's proven beyond any doubts at this point in history 
that rules just will not stand in the way of the economic cycle. I mean we're 
living through the aftermath of exactly the kind of rule perverting stuff Bill 
is talking about. Here's a good example:


So, let's get this straight. In order for Citi and the other banks to get the 
rope to hang themselves with, all of these people had to willingly go along with 
getting this law changed: bank CEOs, bank Boards, shareholders, Congress, US 
President. And they all went along with it happily. And honestly for myself, 
back in 1999 this wasn't a blip on my radar either. Laws dating back to the 
1930s?? What possible use could that have in the New Economy.

In the aftermath now, sure we will make a bunch of new rules to shore things 
back up, and for a while it will be improved, but the cycle will continue 
turning. As long as it is driven by human minds then eventually it will almost 
certainly repeat.

And by the way, attempting to smooth it out typically just ends up making things 
worse down the road. See Hyman Minsky, "stability leads to instability":


If the government/Fed had let things deflate properly during the last recession 
instead of smoothing that out then we never would have had this huge housing and 
debt bubble. Or at least it wouldn't have been so big and damaging.

Your best bet as long as we are in a human-driven economy is to expect the 
historic cycle to repeat, and learn to profit from it.
Brian Atkins
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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