What were they thinking ?

The reason I try to write these notes is the chinese wall.

Ever since I first saw it on a school-book map, I have been wondering what the decision making process were like.

We would like to think that the emperor asked for ideas, and that advisors came up with analyses, budgets, cost/benefit calculations and project plans for various proposals, and that the emperor applied his wisdom to choose the better idea.

But it could also be, that The Assistant to The Deputy Viceminister of Northern Affairs, edged in sideways, at a carefully chosen time where the emperor looked relaxed and friendly, and sort of happend to mention that 50 villages had been sort of raided by the barbarians, hoping for the reply, which would not be a career opportunity for The Assistant to The Assistant to The Deputy Viceminister of Northern Affairs.

And likely as not, the emperor absentmindedly grunted “Why don’t you just build a wall to keep them out or something ?” probably wondering about the competence of an administration, which could not figure out to build palisades around border villages without bothering him and causing a monument to the Peter Principle and Parkinssons Law to be built, which can be seen from orbit, and possibly from the moon, if you bring your binoculars.

If somebody had written some notes, we might have known.

Poul-Henning, 2010-05-28