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"Any fault lies not in capitalism but in human nature."

Jim, I think that's a bit too glib. I'd add that any executive who doesn't seriously take human nature into account is guilty of malpractice of capitalism. And, of course, human nature contains more than individually-based self-aggrandizement.

As counterpoint to your police story about Dead Man's curve, I remember watching the response of Accenture's then-CEO Bill Green to a partner who asked if the incentives would be adjusted to ensure enactment of a policy Green was proposing. Green's response was memorable: he rose up out of his chair, visibly agitated, and said:

"I don't ever want to hear that question again. If there's ever a conflict between doing the right thing and doing what the incentives suggest, first you do the right thing, and THEN you fix the incentives. Are we clear?"

That is an ethical capitalist, who very well understands human nature, and is determined to address it by appealing to our higher natures, rather than relying solely on tinkering with the flavors of cheese and the design of the maze to tweak the rats' behavior.

Thanks for the good additional message there, Charlie. Unsure how my statement was "glib," though. It seemed obvious.

Every -ism you can think of (capital, social, commune, feudal, caveman, etc.) has sponsored the exact same situations that challenge us reward designers here. The hypocritical central planning fiascos of USSR and Red China proved the equal if not greater vulnerabilities of non-capitalist or anti-capitalist systems to perverse incentives. We all must deal with human nature as we stumble along trying to create situations where all parties benefit from desired outcomes. Not easy at all!

Why would quality employees remain in this Wells Fargo quagmire? Good Wells Fargo employees that are getting caught up in this mess need encouragement.

Wells Fargo should consider a new way of encouraging employees while helping the community. Volunteerism on company time would be a miracle for any community based 501c3. Only 2% of Wells Fargo's work force volunteering 1 day a month would equal 1,000,000 volunteer hours yearly. The volunteer infrastructure is in place, Wells Fargo just needs to tap into the system. Wells Fargo employees could benefit from non-monetary incentives like a regional yearly retreat for volunteers.

There are so many ways Wells Fargo employees could volunteer, churches, boys and girls clubs, public recreation programs, volunteer to work alongside participants of a court ordered labor program, elder care, and so much more. Wells Fargo should still get the tax break for labor cost if volunteering happens during work hours. It's a win win and not much productivity lost if the volunteers plan ahead.

Personally unaware of Wells Fargo's current volunteer support programs (if any), but most big corporations have them. Many subsidize and lead United Way fund drives, encourage direct paycheck deductions for charities, donate in-kind services and occasionally supply paid workers (frequently some waiting reassignment or layoff) for full time but temporary service. Charitable project assignments are also excellent options for testing leadership and project management skills without risk to the employer. Big is not always heartless.

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