Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A powerful moment for a faceless bureaucrat: a base desire or admiration of analysis?

What is it that appeals to me about the story of U.S. Government bureaucrat Brooksley Born?

An abstract before my list of reasons: for over a decade, Born warned some of the highest economic officials in the U.S. about the financially shaky foundation of the then growing economy, over-the-counter derivatives. She wasn't merely crying wolf, she gave details based on experience and research about the dangers of the economic conditions during her term of service. Current economic advisers to President Obama also decried this Born's theory. Now that Born's insight is celebrated, she declines the "I told you so" utterance.

This story's appeal to me?

1. I like stories that contradict the pejorative term of the faceless "bureaucrat." I don't necessarily celebrate the expansion of government, but those who make their living off of making the government their punching bag make an army of mountebanks.
2. I admire reading about someone who a split their working life in the public and private sector.
3. I admire the cooperative use of experience and research that benefit the public good.
4. I appreciate the example of courage--Born stood resolute and in contrast to some very intelligent and powerful people and graciously told them they were wrong.
5. This story appeals to base desires. If this story is true, I would love to be able to say "I told you so" related to a discovery backed by testing, theory, knowledge. I would love to be able to say those words of vindication, but also help in creating a better, healed world as a result of those tested ideas.

The financial content of the story doesn't interest me as much as the relational and vocational aspect. I love the world of ideas--testing, discussing, theorizing, and picking the ideas apart, imagining and planning application of those ideas. I admire Born's analytical skill and execution. I hope to use my analytical skills in the same way--to serve God in the world and make it a better place. I needed a little optimism today in my job search and my work as a father and home economist. I'm generally an optimistic person, but I have noticed it's hard not to navel gaze on the tail end of moving, transitioning, parenting at home and home economizing. I believe Manuel Roig-Franzia of the Washington Post executed a piece of journalism at its best: the story provided detailed information while providing insight for living. For me, that is well worth the $1.50 I paid for my Sunday newspaper.

No comments: