What's this all about, anyway?

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Perhaps you have heard of the tale of the seven blind men who went to India to see the elephant. One bumped into the side of the elephant and said that the elephant was like a wall. Another one grabbed its ear and thought the elephant was like a leaf. A third found its tail and thought it was like a rope. By the time all seven had observed the elephant, they had seven different views of what the elephant was!

To examine something as large and complex as an economy, a social or moral issue, a corporation, or any other modern institution or complex topic of discussion, we often are best served by first admitting our own "blind spots" and examining things a little bit at a time. It is not wise to draw a single, all-encompassing conclusion based on our own modest ability to observe a small part of the picture. Just like the seven blind men, each of us may only apprehend a small piece of the puzzle. I hope that by providing lots of little views of certain large, complicated things, perhaps we may wisely synthesize them to get the whole picture.

Instead of going "inside" a company to do "investigative reporting," I prefer to model a company or an institution by its behavior, by how it interacts with its environment, and by how it seeks to influence others. Using a "black box" approach means we can find common, everyday things in our daily lives to use as illustrations of the subject under examination. This also avoids any emotional bias due to personal relationships with people inside the organization.

This is not about making a political "statement" or agitating for some kind of legal or social "movement." Rather, I hope that by providing some observations and points of view that are alternatives to the mainstream "conventional wisdom," that bridges may be built between people and that any activism or decisionmaking they proceed to carry out will be on the basis of informed choice instead of misconceptions and myths.


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