Small fines, and faint damnation

In USA Today for 22.Apr.2019, columnist Ken Fisher pointed out that small fines are really a buy signal.
So, adding my two cents: The dynamic of imposing a small fine is similar to the dynamic of praising via faint damnation.
The ‘small’ fines Fisher refers to are actually large sums of money – sometimes billions of dollars, but are small in relation to the wealth of the companies concerned. This is a good example of the nature of ratio data (the four types of data – or, ‘levels of measurement’ as they are more technically called – being nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio). That is, items of ratio data are most appropriately compared, just as their designation says, via ratios. Since we are talking ‘small’ billions here, it is apropos to include a couple famous references along that line:
1. ‘Only a Billion’ is a title used somewhere by Isaac Asimov (as a chapter title, I believe, in his book ‘On Numbers’);
2. “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”
— Senator Dirksen (attributed)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s