A leading expert on financial market regulation studies the virtues of delay and even inaction.
In the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, Partnoy (Law and Finance/Univ. of San Diego; The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, the Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals, 2009, etc.) asked “why our leading bankers, regulators and others were so short-sighted and wreaked such havoc on our economy.” While there is a high premium today for speed, the author suggests that there are serious downsides to rapid decision-making, unless it is accompanied by long-term strategic thinking and planning. Partnoy’s interdisciplinary approach uses elements of behavioral economics, neuroscience and even sports, as he shows how professional tennis and baseball players give themselves the extra milliseconds needed to process the trajectory of a ball before responding. Good judgment depends on allowing enough time for necessary mental processing to occur. The decision may appear to be spontaneous, but prior experience is almost always a factor—whether it occurs preconsciously, in milliseconds, or consciously, in seconds or longer time frames. Partnoy’s results are groundbreaking and a potential corrective to modern pressures for rapid response, whether on the playing field, in high-speed computer trading and corporate boardrooms, or on the battlefield. The author argues that although circumstances vary—each having its own requirements—and one size does not fit all, society must foster long-term decision-making in addition to making time for better shorter-term efforts.
A fascinating addition to the study of decision-making. File alongside Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Ariely and other similar writers.