Thursday, 19 April 2007

Constructive Naïveté over Destructive Defeatism

My rewritten piece on confusing target for objective in attracted this comment from ‘Anon’:

If you’re so smart, design better targets and the appropriate incentive system. Hah, there you go.

This is one of those problems that EVERYONE recognizes but cannot solve any better.

Also, designing incentive systems is truly one of the most difficult things in the world and always always always subject to gaming tactics. Always.

I’m unimpressed with your article.

Dissatisfied, he/she went on to a more personal disapproval:

In fact, I find your article so bad, I wonder what you do for a living and what sort of working experience you’ve had. A person of even minimal insight into the workings of the world wouldn’t write something this naive.

To which I replied:


Thank you very much for your comments, and I apologise for appearing naïve and ignorant.

You are right to say that designing any policy is difficult, and subjected to perversions and biases. Nonetheless, designing policy is needed. It is not that designing is desirable. It is regrettably inevitable for development and progress.

The important thing is, however, for policy-makers (and the public) to quickly recognise any weaknesses in the designs and change them, that is, to pick winning strategies and quickly drop losing ones. The fear is on settling in a bad equilibrium thanks to dogmatism and apathy.

And yes, given a choice of destructive defeatism or constructive naïveté, I take the latter any day.

Do have a good day,




Chewxy said...

Precisely what makes you attractive, Elanor.

Anonymous said...

btw elanor, you dont have a boyfriend do you?

Elanor said...


Anyway, the purpose of me posting this is because I found that when reading anon's comments, the thought processes I went through provided me with some fresh introspection, as summarised by the title of this post.

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