Finding out the truth seems to be one of the most difficult of human endeavor in our country today and maybe in the last 100 years, particularly as it relates to our economic wellbeing.
A memorable citation on truth is in the movie dialogue of A Few Good Men between Jessep (Jack Nicholson) who, in a highly emotional state, asked Kaffee (Tom Cruise), “You want answers”? And Kaffee, who in an equally emotional response says, “I want the truth”!
Of course most people know what’s meant by “truth.” Dictionary says: “Conformity to fact or reality.” Also, there are hundreds of other explanations in the form of quotations, stories and proverbs about truth.
Nevertheless, while the meaning of truth is well known, there’s a reluctance to speak it. Consequently, a litany of highly publicized lying is harming our economy and seems unstoppable. It’s as though the Latin proverb, “Truth breeds hatred” (veritas odium parit) took hold and caused an incredible shrinkage of truth.
The dollar amount of economic hurt due to truth shrinkage cannot be scientifically determined. What’s been accomplished, however, is a scientific name for it … “Asymmetric Information.”
Paraphrasing economic textbooks on the subject, “AI” is an economic, commercial or political situation in which all parties in an exchange or agreement are not equally well informed; but in fact, lied to. That may seem like a fun definition, but the results are not.
Nearly a decade ago, a controversial Nobel Lecture delivered to the Swedish Academy in Stockholm stated that those who engaged in AI are interested not in truth but in power, and wish to keep power by keeping others ignorant of the truth. “What surrounds us, therefore, is a vast tapestry of lies upon which we feed.”
Perhaps the most awesome example of AI occurred in 1945 during WWII. Representatives of the Tokyo government choose to “ignore” or “withhold comment” on America’s potential to devastate Japan and its people with an atom bomb.
Instead, the military assured the Nation: “We will be able to destroy the invading army.” Also, posters were pasted all over Tokyo denouncing any American peace negotiations.
Why would the Japanese government and its war ministers take such a seemingly reckless position at the risk of literally destroying an Empire? Ultimately, historians pose a simple answer to that question, in that it was to: "Preserve and maintain power in the Imperial House and the prerogatives of His Majesty as a Sovereign Ruler.”
Thus, on August 6, 1945 one atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima that reportedly killed nearly 40,000 people instantly and 100,000 dead within days from burns and radiation. On August 10th a second bomb flattened Nagasaki killing another 70,000 people. Then, experts admitted Japan was under atomic attack and unconditional surrender signed.
So then, a bit of history, a movie, and a Nobel Lecture might suggest that America’s wellbeing depends, not so much on wanting answers, but the truth.
Thanks for reading
 Much of this data and other information taken from David M. Kennedy book Freedom From Fear, Oxford University Press, 1999