Thursday, July 12, 2012

Not Fair

There is an article in a recent Sports Illustrated (June 4, 2012) called To Cheat or Not To Cheat about the steroid era in baseball. It is the story of the early days of steroids in baseball when players who were trying to 'make the majors' found people around them suddenly improve and move up while others would be stuck in the minors or be let go. One quote is key:
Ninety percent of all drafted players never spend one day in the big leagues. Steroid users made the odds even worse for clean players.
It is a sad story about players who had dreams to play in the bigs never get the chance because people who cheated got ahead. Players who were not cheating would find others on the club or friends suddenly get stronger and faster and they would hit longer and throw harder. These 'friends' would find their way to the majors while those who were not cheating would never advance and never get their chance. The cheaters made the majors.

The article reminded me of a documentary I saw years ago about MCI Worldcom competing with AT&T and Sprint on long distance services and the growth in internet traffic on their backbones. MCI kept reporting amazing results yet in the boardrooms of AT&T and Sprint they weren't seeing the huge growth in traffic that MCI was reporting. Turns out MCI was not telling the truth.  Unfortunately for tens of thousands of employees at AT&T and Sprint, job cuts were made to try get to the financial success being reported by MCI. People lost their jobs because MCI faked it for a while.

Same could be said for Enron or for many who made a fortune on packaging mortgage backed securities before the crash of 2008.

Cheaters sometimes get ahead. Liars sometime advance. Life isn't always fair. There is no guarantee that life is fair. People get hurt.

1 comment:

  1. We are about to see a similar situation - again in banking. The LIMOR issue has put millions of people, cities and companies deeper in debt because of cheating among banks which set interest rates. They were phony, inflated rates. How many people lost their homes, towns and companies laid off people, because they were no longer able to pay the artificially inflated interest rates. There is an important role for regulation because, left to our own devices, humans too often cheat and steal to get ahead. For some, God is their regulator. For others, it has to be the law to make them do what they should and not what they want.