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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Business Focus

Two stories in today's New York Times discouraged me. First was the continuing and long standing complaint that the Nuclear Regulatory Commisision was a captive of that industry and that important safety precautions were not made and those failures were not punished by the NRC (Nuclear Agency Is Criticized as Too Close to Its Industry. New York Times, May 8, 2011: A1). Second was the failure of major data archives to protect the identity of the data stored therein (There's No Data Sheriff on the Wild Web. New York Times Week in Review, May 8, 2011: 2).

In both cases, essential security features were not put in place because they were "too expensive."

When was it that American Industry turned from an emphasis on technical rigor and pride in doing an excellent job to the present focus on parsimony? Parsimony, that is, when it comes to providing adequate products and services but generosity in rewarding the top echelon of the managerial team.

We have to return to that focus on a job well done despite the cost or we will suffer unimaginable problems in the years ahead. Let's start with really tightening up the safety levels of our aging Nuclear Reactors. Apropos Vermont, lying about the existence of underground pipes should be a clear basis for not issuing an operating permit for another twenty years.

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