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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blaming the Victim and Externalized Cost

When an enterprise externalizes cost, real costs are made to be born by others outside the organization. Pollution is an example. It seems to me that there lies a deep kinship in "blaming the victim" and externalized cost. In each case the perpetrating party seeks to shed all accountability and to lodge all cost (or blame) in others.  Let us say that I am a terrible teacher and in rote monotone deliver an interminable lecture which would have been best conveyed by written text.  I make little or no effort to enliven the oral presentation with graphics or even meaningful pauses and inflection. I just "read" from memory page upon page of highly dense data. If a student should complain or fall asleep, I blame them for being lazy or not measuring up intellectually to the high-caliber tone of my delivery.  In other words, I can archly blame the victim who--in a more just world--would have me summarily fired.   We see similar self-inoculation against blame in social groups where shunned individuals are discredited and condemned rather than shouldering any of the responsibility ourselves. 

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