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)
“Many estates are spent in the getting,
Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting,
And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting.”
— Benjamin Franklin
The Sorites paradox (aka ‘paradox of the heap’) disappears as soon as you take the blinders off and make use of something that everybody knows and is expressed in many ways throughout literature, namely, that the essential contribution is made by the outsider (e.g., Shane). The so-called Sorites paradox is merely proof of that fact. It can be viewed as a special case of the fact that it is others, not you, who are the best judge of what you have done. You’re building a pile, grain by grain? It is for others, not you, to say when you have finished. A workman, no matter how good, isn’t finished until his boss says he’s finished. Notice that you can manufacture paradoxes by suppressing fundamentally false presuppositions. For example, the fundamentally false (but entirely natural) presupposition that all sets are countable quickly leads to a contradiction in mathematics, via the diagonalization argument of Cantor.