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The Power of Institutions (Very Classic)

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The first story: the inspection system of pass rate.


During World War II, the U.S. Air Force's parachute eligibility rate was 99.9%, which meant that, in probability, one out of every 1,000 parachutists would die because their parachutes did not qualify. The military requires manufacturers to make the qualified rate reach 100%. The manufacturer's director said they did their best, 99.9% was the limit, unless there were miracles.


The military (some say General Barton) changed the inspection system by randomly selecting several parachutes from the parachute before each delivery, and letting the head of the manufacturer jump in person for inspection. Since then, a miracle has appeared, and the qualified rate of the parachute has reached 100%.


The second story: payment method.


After Britain turned Australia into a colony, because it was sparsely populated and undeveloped, the British government encouraged its citizens to emigrate to Australia, but at that time Australia was very backward and nobody wanted to go. The British government came up with a way to send criminals to Australia. On the one hand, it solves the problem of overcrowding in British prisons, on the other hand, it also solves the problem of Australian labor force. On the other hand, they think that if they send the bad guys away, Britain will be better.

The British government employs private vessels to transport prisoners, and pays for the number of people on board, making more money by transporting more. Soon the government found that there was a big drawback. The death rate of criminals was very high, averaging more than 10 percent. The death rate of the most serious ship reached an alarming 37 percent. Government officials racked their brains to reduce the death rate of criminals in transportation, including sending officials on board to supervise, limiting the number of ships, and so on, but they could not implement it.


Finally, they found a once-and-for-all solution, which was to change the payment method from paying according to the number of people on board to paying according to the number of people off the ship. Shipowners can earn transportation costs only if they deliver people to Australia alive.


As soon as the new policy came out, the death rate of criminals dropped to about one percent. Later, in order to improve the survival rate, the shipowner also equipped the ship with doctors.


The third story: Cleaning standards for toilets.


In a high-end hotel in Japan, the standard for testing the cleanliness of the toilet is that the cleaner himself takes a drink of a glass of water from the toilet. Imagine how clean the toilet would be.


The fourth story: the distribution system of porridge.


Seven people live together and share a barrel of porridge every day. The cruel thing is that porridge is not enough every day. At first, they cast lots to decide who would share the porridge, one turn a day. So, every week, they only have one day to be full, that is, the day they share porridge. Later, they began to select a person with high moral voice to share porridge.


If power is monopolized and there is no restriction, corruption will arise. Everyone began to try their best to please him. They colluded with each other and made the whole small group smoky. Then we started to form a three-member porridge Committee and a four-member selection committee. They attacked each other and pulled it down. The porridge was cold in their mouths.


Finally came up with a way: take turns to divide porridge, but the person who divides porridge has to wait for others to pick up the last bowl. In order not to let oneself eat the least, everyone tries to share equally, even if it is not fair, can only recognize.


Everyone is happy and friendly, and the better the day goes by.


The fifth story: a paradise of mutual aid and win-win.


A good Christian asked God to show him the difference between hell and heaven after he died.


When I got to hell, I saw a huge table full of delicious food. Think: Hell is a good life? After a while, it's time for dinner. A group of thin, dying people are sitting in front of the aromatic meat pot. They only have too long spoon handles. Although they are rushing to deliver meat to their mouths, they just can't eat it. They are very anxious and hungry.

God said, this is hell.


They went into another room, which was like hell, with the same smell of broth and the same long spoon in their hands. But all the people here are bright and energetic. It turned out that each of them had a special spoon to feed the broth into the other's mouth.


God said, this is heaven.


The same people, different systems, can produce different cultures and atmospheres as well as huge disparities.


This is the power of the system!


A good system can suppress people's bad ideas, while a bad system can make people's good wishes run against each other. Establishing a system that links results with individual responsibilities and interests can solve many social problems.