Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Too Small to Fail: How My Baby Girl Explains the Current Financial Crisis

My little girl (8 months old) has developed a behavior that I like to call “baby deathwish.” If she sees something she wants, she lunges for it. It doesn’t matter where that object of desire is, or what lies between her and her goal. In the morning she sits facing me lying against my bent knees, and invariably spies my alarm clock four feet away. She tries to reach it, but her tiny arms don’t go four feet. So she hurls herself towards it, heedless of the precipitous drop off the side of the bed and the hard wooden floor. Restraining her can be surprisingly difficult. Similarly, she will try to launch herself off the couch and will someday succeed in toppling her high chair with the imbalance, again utterly heedless of the long drop to the wooden floor. So far, she has not worked out the principle that crying a lot may get me to bring the desired item towards her.

Now, we could teach baby deathwish not to do this. All we have to do is let her fall on her head. If we allow her to fall, she will likely learn to stop launching herself off precipices. If we pursue this laissez-floor attitude, she will stop this behavior… one way or another. For reasons that I hope do not need explaining, we do not employ this strategy. Let’s just say she’s “too small to fail.”

My baby does not just provide an example of risk-taking without consequences. She also resembles the investment banker in other ways. We are amazed at almost any sign of real sentience, and praise her for almost everything she does well, even making poop in her diaper. We then clean up her diaper, and her, without complaint.

Our greatest current desire as parents is to see her start crawling, then running, making all of these behaviors even more dangerous.

Then there are the sublime messes which are also totally predictable, but we do not prevent. This past week, she has discovered that it is fun to blow bubbles through her solid food while eating in order to form a Jackson-Pollock-like spray pattern. At the end of the feeding, the area around her rembles a binomial distribution of splattered puree – one concentration in front of where I am sitting, another in front of whatever other thing caught her attention the most. There is as little subtlety in investing in a bull market. So long as the input (puree du anything) is sufficiently endless, there will be waste. Once again, we are unwilling to teach our baby the value of food by limiting the available amount to that which she can use.

So that’s it. Our financial sector has had all the self-control of an infant, and the government has coddled it in exactly the same manner. Well, I think the diaper genie is finally full. Target is out of pampers , and there’s no more Boudreaux’s Buttpaste in the tube. It’s time to let the financial sector go head-bonk. The problem is a credit crisis, and the government would do better to set up its own bank than finance these Wall Street bankers who refuse to lend money. It’s time for adults to step in here.


Bert Q. Slushbrow, Sr. said...

Just so you are aware... once she begins crawling the one of the first things she will do is find something awful to stick in her mouth. Dead bugs, rotten wood splinters, mildewed grout, hairy dust bunnies... she will find it all and fast (you think you know fast... hah, you do not know fast) and it will go straight into her mouth. Come to think of it... this dovetails accurately with the rest of your financial sector analogy.

Anonymous said...

I must state for the sake of fairness (lest our readers think we are particularly diligent parents) that she has gone "head-bonk" three times. She rolled off of the futon once, and has slipped off of the couch twice.

Each time, it seemed that the surprise was actually more upsetting than the change of location or the pain involved. Perhaps that is also like the financial industry...

Gah, I'm a babbling idiot.

-Seventh Sister

Dr. Strangelove said...

I love the story! It is thought-provoking as well. The trouble is that they keep telling us the financial crisis would not just be a head-bonk, but the equivalent of letting her stick her finger in the outlet. Hard to know until the baby hits the floor, as it were.

I think the time-scales are too long for proper learning. Imagine if a baby did not feel pain until years after she acted on her "baby deathwish" and lunged for the alarm clock. Would she ever make the connection? And even if the connection were clear, would it still be a deterrent?

Incidentally, I love your "binomial distribution" image, but I think "bimodal distribution" was the phrase you were searching for :-)

Now go get some sleep.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Yes, Dr.S., I meant bimodal. I obviously have spent too much time with the baby. She improves our average cuteness alot, but decreases average verbal ability.

Raised By Republicans said...

Great analogy!