Psychopathy Rewards

Psychopathy is a neuropsychiatric disorder marked by deficient emotional responses, lack of empathy, and poor behavioral controls, commonly resulting in persistent antisocial deviance and criminal behavior.  ref.

There was a time where we didn’t like psychopaths. The neurological disorder was tightly bound to serial killers and the outer edges of society. And then we reached the 80s, where “Greed is good” and we actively started rewarding people with this trait. When the almighty dollar is king, then that’s what people cherish. The CEOs that most people know have these traits, and the most egregious of them all get rewarded handsomely for it. These people are generally quite intelligent and leverage this lack of empathy towards “success”.

I won’t hard on it for long, but Trump is clearly a psychopath. Boris Johnson. They’re not alone, there are a slew of elected officials who require this trait in order to twist the truth to meet their agenda. The gap between the neurological state and learned behaviors is an interesting one, which is why we have the adage the power tends to corrupt, and absolutely power corrupts absolutely. In 2022, this often manifests in a cult-like worship (think about how far that spans for a minute…)

Elon Musk offered to but out Twitter, and staked a $1b minimum transaction on the deal. Elon Musk doesn’t actually have a salary or income, he has Tesla shares. Shares he needs to sell/leverage to have money. He has so many shares, he needs to declare he will sell them to the SEC so that he doesn’t “tank” their value. If he wanted to see in a month, he says so now, then in a month it goes through. He only gets value based on the stock in a month, so it’s in his best interests to make that number go up.

Tangent – When Musk announced a return to work for 40hrs/week for salaried employees, it was clear he needed to cut operational costs, which he announced the next day. When you force a change like this, a company loses the “top quality” talent, as they generally have a better ability to find somewhere else to work and the flexibility to afford time without pay. It’s a fascinatingly bad management decision.

Unfortunately for almost everyone involved, Mush has poor behavioral controls and has managed to cut the value of Tesla by nearly 50% (aware that stocks in general have taken a beating, but that’s closer to 20%). His ability to buy Twitter is based on the value of Tesla stocks, which are now worth half of what it was before. And now he wants to back out of the Twitter deal. Which is simply fascinating to watch, just like a slow motion car crash.

The general idea is that Musk over-extended the offer, on an artificial value of his own stock boosted by his love for Twitter. The deal made very little sense to start. Since that time, Musk has continued to stay in the spotlight, relishing the ability to share his thoughts with the public. The more he did, the more time was allowed for the market to correct itself. He was overpaying then, and even more so now, with half the funds available to pay it. He’s going to do everything in his power to back out of the deal.

Is this enough for society to get a wake up call that the people we reward are the ones with the least useful traits for our survival? Quite unlikely. We’ll go for the person who takes advantage of people who are not us. There’s a term for that…

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