Friday, August 13, 2010


Living in a world where your status & wealth prevents
you from having to suffer the same financial and  
lifestyle hit for breaking the law that others do.

A driver caught doing 180 mph in Switzerland is set to be fined between $835,000 and $962,000. The reason the fine is so high is that Switzerland calculates fines based on the severity of the offense and the offender's income level.

I like this law.

In many ways Switzerland's method of assigning fines to drivers is their way to making sociopaths - who have money - feel some pain for their mistakes. Think about it. A $500 fine for a working-class driver (who makes $30-40,000 a year) will feel the penalty. A $500 fine means there are no frivolities for the month and/or some bills don't get paid. A $500 fine for the Donald Trumps and Paris Hiltons of the world mean nothing.

However, a driving fine of, say, $50,000 for someone making $3-4 million a year would go a long way in leveling the reward-penalty field in America. Specifically it would add some punch to the notion of merit and equality under the law ... principles that everyone in America understands, but are also quite sure doesn't always exist.

We could defend our new approach to equality under the law by telling the world we're trying to defeat the Paris Hilton Principle. The Paris Hilton Principle - which has already been linked to sex (what else?) - in many ways is akin to the Dunning–Kruger effect.

In a few words the Dunning-Kruger effect refers to unskilled and incompetent people whose cognitive bias (world view) allows them to make poor decisions - which they never acknowledge or recognize - because their incompetence denies them the capacity to realize their mistakes. Incompetence, after all, requires screwing up on many levels.

Defeating the Paris Hilton Principle refers to popping the bubble of rich sociopaths by forcing them to feel the same financial penalties the rest of us do when we're punished or fined for legal transgressions.

Incompetence, like rich sociopaths, should always feel the pinch of justice when they undermine society's rules.

- Mark

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