Hank Paulson is taking heat from economists, Wall Street institutional investors and politicians in Congress for changing the federal government bailout policy. The stock market went down last week partly on the fear that no one is in charge in Washington and that there isn’t any stability yet to the financial crisis and deepening economic recession. So Paulson the conventional wisdom is that Paulson is failing—and may be a failure.
That is simply not true. Paulson is doing what he should be doing, which is what designers do—he is looking at the facts on the ground and iterating and prototyping as he goes. With the housing bubble bursting, we are now in a period of fast change, high uncertainty, and deep confusion as to what to do. Standard policies won’t work. New programs have to be created on the fly. The best strategy is to try many things, fail fast, learn from the failures and move on. This is what Paulson is doing.
In fact, the big question facing the US is this: What do you do when you don’t know what to do? The answer is design your way into the uncertain future. Which is what Paulson is, in effect, doing. Paulson is the Grand Designer.
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