Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The best and the brightest

“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent to lead and staff the A.I.G. businesses — which are now being operated principally on behalf of American taxpayers — if employees believe their compensation is subject to continued and arbitrary adjustment by the U.S. Treasury.”
- Edward M. Liddy, chair of AIG

Well, aren't I just chopped liver, then. I and everyone I know who didn't work at AIG. I thought we were quite bright, but apparently we weren't the brightest. The brightest all went to work in the financial sector.

The best, too. Silly me for thinking that "the best" might include people with integrity, people who take responsibility for what happens, people who don't expect everything to be cushioned and comfortable no matter the circumstances. People willing to make sacrifices. (I like Bryan Appleyard's comment that "bankers' bonuses were so catastrophic precisely because they insulated bankers from a free market in anything.")

Here's the thing: they really believe that! They really think that they have the brightest and the best! Personally, I would be very satisfied with "bright and good," with an emphasis on strong values rather than extreme cleverness.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness, and lend us thine aid;
star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

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