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March 19, 2008


Tim Worstall

A story to add to this part:
"One of the tricks of good management is to try and overcome problems like these; remember, the assumption of conventional economics, that the production function is given, is false; such functions have to be discovered. A good manager asks: how can I avoid being dependent upon a weak link?"

We're the sole suppliers of a vital input to a huge production process in the US. Our part is very small (gross turnover of maybe $200,000 a year) while the total process is 100 million halogen bulbs a year.

We are reliant upon Russia as a source (although not one single point).

The customer has insisted that we research and then build a non-Russia based source so that the entire system is not based upon whatever Putin and Medvedev do to Russian exports.

Identifying and then avoiding a possible weak link, as you say.

Scott Hughes

I think that you are right to speculate that poor countries may be poor because they are too dependent on weak links. That's why I think poverty needs to be beaten at a very local level. We can't fix poverty with nation-wide solutions because that just makes these people more dependent on more links in a larger chain. Creating small, self-sufficient communities is key.


Your last paragraph does not need any question marks. If your continued well-being only depends on not messing up, why would you try to make anything better. It's like the herd of investment managers. You won't get fired for being with the crowd - hey we all did it.

Mark Wadsworth

Isn't this a roundabout way of saying "A chain is as strong as the weakest link"?



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