Willful Blindness

June 20th, 2012

As we read the morning headlines, we are offered one surprise after another. The 2008 economic crisis seemed to come out of nowhere. The rampant fraud at Enron and MCI caught us off guard. BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was like a freak accident.

The truth is that there are very few surprise in life. Most of what’s happening, whether it’s corporate misbehavior or government coverups or relationship gone awry, are visible but we cast a blind eye to the truth. This phenomena of not seeing what’s right before our eyes is called willful blindness. We chose to ignore what we can see because we don’t want what we see to be true.

Our motivations for this intentional ignorance are many. At the heart of each is our desire to not disturb the status quo. Could be we are afraid we will lose our job, if we speak up. Maybe, we don’ want to lose our lifestyle if we see the economic trends, so we pretend they don’t exist. For some, its the fear of being alone that have them look past what’s obvious to many an continue in relationships that are unhealthy.

This week on Business Matters, we look, in depth, at the causes and effects of willful blindness and what many of us are blind to right here in the United States.


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Margaret Heffernan| dsc_2584

Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive and author. She was born in Texas, raised in Holland and educated at Cambridge University. In 2004, Margaret published “The Naked Truth: A Working Woman’s Manifesto about Business and What Really Matters” and in 2007 she brought out “How She Does It: How Female Entrepreneurs are Changing the Rules for Business Success“. Her most recent book is Willful Blindness: Why we Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril.

She is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at Simmons College in Boston and Executive in Residence at Babson College. She sits on the Council of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the UK as well as one the boards of several private companies. Margaret blogs for the Huffington Post and writes for Fast Company, Real Business, MORE, and other magazines around the world.

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Dmitry Orlov

Emigrating from the Soviet Union at 12, Dmitry Orlov became an eye witness to the collapse of the Soviet Union. These lessons have informed his observations and writing about the collapse of the U.S economy and our preparedness to handle the fallout.

In 2005, Dmitry wrote Closing the Collapse Gap, about how Russia was much better prepared for the collapse after the fall of communism that America is after the fall of consumerism. `He has also written other articles on culture change include The New Age of Sail , The Despotism of the Image, and That Bastion of American Socialism and Thriving in an Age of Collapse

In 2008, Orlov’s book Reinventing Collapse was published. It has received numerous awards including the 2009 independentPublisher Silver Medal. ¬†Dmitry revised¬†Reinventing Collapse last year, where he updates his observations and recommendations.. His website is cluborlov.blogspot.com.

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