Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Lazy Americans (and Canadians) threaten their own way of life

David Berlind has posted an article on his blog this morning discussing why the lazy, "give me convenience or give me death" lifestyle in America (and increasingly in Canada) is going to be the downfall of our collective economic leadership.

Why do banks in North America have such awful security? Because we're too lazy to put up with anything better. I have an offshore bank account and their website requires one of the RSA Security Key devices David talks about in his article. Sure it's inconvenient. But how much more inconvenient would it be to have my money stolen out of my account?

There's an analogy to this - that I'm seeing more and more each day.

When I go to a parking lot, I pull into the first empty spot I can find. Then get out of the car and start walking to the front doors of my destination. Frequently, another car will follow me into the lot. While I am walking to the doors, the driver of that car is circling the parking lot in a desperate search for a spot within 10 meters of their destination. Heaven forbid they should have to walk for a few more seconds.

About the time I have reached the doors and am entering the building, the poor circling driver finally locates a suitably close spot. How much time did they save? NONE. In fact, they've lost time - often quite a bit. And they end up with less excersize, they burn more gas. Plus, they leave their vehicle more frustrated than I am. Why do they do this? It's because people are more lazy than they are smart.

Banks and security are similar. Sure it's easier if your bank doesn't ask for photo ID, or a proper security system on their web site. But how much time will you lose if your identity is stolen, or your bank account compromised? Why are we willing to make this kind of Faustian bargain?

We do it all the time. Heck, I drive to work, instead of riding my bike, in order to save five minutes on my commute (that's honestly all I save, because my bike is faster in traffic). For that saved five minutes I pay $5 in gas, and lose all the benefit of the excersize I might have gained.

I think lazy is a special kind of stupid.

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