The BMW Syndrome

There doesn’t seem to be a name for the this syndrome: highly intelligent, brilliant people with very poor judgment.

Three exemplars are McGeorge Bundy (Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, incidentally almost managed to destroy both Yale’s and the Ford Foundation’s endowments), Robert McNamara (Bay of Pigs, Vietnam), Paul Wolfowitz (Iraq War, nepotism in the World Bank).

Bundy, McNamara, Wolfowitz. The BMW Syndrome?


3 thoughts on “The BMW Syndrome

  1. It seems, now that all the relevant documents have been released, that it wasn’t a blunder so much as a failure to grasp just how corrupt the institution was, and how devious they could be in their efforts to advance their own objectives.

    Perhaps this could be called poor judgment by a bright fellow, and thus be an example of the BMW syndrome, in that he failed to be sufficiently suspicious of the corrupt system that he attempted to reform.

    In hindsight it appears that he could have avoided the trap set by the corrupt officials. He could have refused to write the memo, even though the HR department insisted and provided the content of the memo, and stuck with his decision to recuse himself. They punked him.

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