Complex Systems, Dysfunctional Industries, and Catastrophic Collapse

Over the holidays we tempted fate by booking a multi-stage plane trip … and ended up with cancelled flights, missed connections, and blank-faced airline employees who sincerely didn’t care if we spent a night or a week on the terminal floor.

While I wallowed in self pity over this loss of control, my wife noted that it’s not just the airlines. Big Food, Big Pharma, and the big banks, among others, are all just as customer-unfriendly. This distracted me from my rage and I spent some time thinking about how strange it is that in a time when Apple is creating Star Trek-level gadgets that streamline and simplify their users’ lives, and Amazon is making shopping almost supernaturally easy, there are huge industries that seem to go out of their way to make their customers’ lives complicated and hard.

Why do they do this when it makes so many people so mad? A pharmaceutical company CEO, for instance, probably can’t leave the house without someone accusing him of doubling the price of a crucial prescription drug while spending millions marketing erectile dysfunction pills to TV football viewers. An industrial food company exec can’t attend a cocktail party without being cornered by someone who reads labels and is appalled by trans fat, high fructose corn syrup-laden “food”. Goldman Sachs execs must cringe every time they pass a newsstand where the latest Rolling Stone is calling their company a “vampire squid”.

And airline employees, of course, must be abused non-stop by people like me who have had their vacations turned into exercises in enforced patience and asymmetrical negotiation. South Park caught the general mood perfectly with this (warning: very rude) episode:

Click below to continue reading:

via Complex Systems, Dysfunctional Industries, and Catastrophic Collapse — DollarCollapse.com.

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