I wanted to touch base on how second-order thinking will help us dig a little deeper into the truth of the information you come across.
A case in point taken here is“ Vaccine discovery by Pfizer”.
I would like to quote 2 articles about the same and urge my readers to browse through it and note down the conclusions they make once after going over it.
Here is my observation when I first read the article — this is first-order thinking and it is something we all have and seems very obvious to everyone. But as they say, the devil is in the details.
Could still deliver a Covid-19 vaccine in 2020, says Pfizer
Pfizer executives expressed measured optimism Tuesday over the prospect of providing a coronavirus vaccine in 2020 as…
The article above discussed challenges to distribute vaccines in a country like India especially since it requires sub-zero temperature storage and has a limited shelf life. The article first appeared in Bloomberg and makes the reader wonder if India is prepared to distribute at a massive scale given the constraints Pfizer vaccine has put forward. So Pfizer through Bloomberg News is asking the Indian government to consider upgrading the cold storage and help to distribute the vaccine effectively to 1.3 Billion people. The Indian government didn’t come out clearly with its strategy to accept this proposal nor they commit to anything more than a customary statement that “ All options are open in front of them”.
First-order thinking forced me to imagine that we as citizens are a lame sitting duck and the government of the order is not doing anything to get us the vaccine, even when the company in question is ready to help.
In second-order thinking, I would challenge some of these assumptions and ask myself the following questions to dig deep into truth-finding.
- Why is Pfizer putting pressure on the Indian government?
- What is it stand to win?
- What does Bloomberg hold to gain?
- What could be the reason for the Indian government to be non-committal towards buying this vaccine?
Here is an article you should read to expand your circle of thinking and perhaps can help find answers to some of the questions I have thought through.
Pfizer's CEO cashed out 60% of his stock on the same day the company unveiled the results of its…
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold 62% of his stock in the company on the same day the drugmaker announced the results of…
Pfizer CEO, Mr.Albert Bourla apparently cashed out 60% of his stock holding in the company, the day when the vaccine results were announced. That essentially means he does not seem to believe that vaccines could be effective and it also could mean that he wanted to take advantage of the rising stock. Either way, there is no trust he has with the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine. If he did, he would have held on to the stock for many years. After all, Pfizer, if successful with this vaccine, stands to make a lot of profit giving vaccines to 7+ billion people across the globe! But the CEO does not think it is possible:)
Now I suppose there is a vested interest for Pfizer to put pressure on the Indian government to push through its agenda. India is a large market and hence the partnership is poised to make a lot of profit if the Indian administration agrees to tie up with them. To that extent I believe, Modi cabinet is very well positioned to say no to tactics mounted by Pfizer via International news agencies. It is also to be noted that, while Pfizer should be appreciated for the job well done to discover the vaccine, its imposition for cold storage adds to the doubt that the scientist purposely made such constraints while preparing the vaccine. By doing so, they made sure many of the governments are forced to upgrade the cold storage systems and would rely on international tie-ups and organizations for the same. It is very much possible that Pfizer knowingly put this constraint in the vaccine to capitalize on the situation and perhaps already tied up with many companies across the globe even before the vaccine results were announced. Well, it's my speculation but this is very much possible if you imagine the amount of money everyone makes in the chain of distribution. The scale is simply unimaginable.
Lastly, none of the companies and governments are doing a charity to protect the citizen. They all have vested interest and all of them are playing a game of chess and checkmate each other to see who will have a bigger pie.
I hope I was able to stitch loose ends for the Pfizer news and allowed my readers to think beyond the obvious.
This is second-order thinking and it will help you remove the wheat from the chaff and I believe news is not just noise but poisonous if we do not know how to dissect them!
This sought of thinking is extremely important when it comes to managing your own financial decisions. We have enough examples of how you get carried away by the CNBC or ET money news and make decisions to invest in life insurances, health and penny stocks, and others. So it's important to do fact findings at least at the second-order if not third or fourth and make decisions accordingly.
If you have noticed the world's best investors or entrepreneurs, they were very good in second or even 3rd,4th order thinking and hence could make better decisions and hence more desirable outcomes.
So it's important, You want to find a middle ground — which is usually second-order thinking.
“Failing to consider second- and third-order consequences is the cause of a lot of painfully bad decisions, and it is especially deadly when the first inferior option confirms your own biases. Never seize on the first available option, no matter how good it seems, before you’ve asked questions and explored.”
– Ray Dalio
Because “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them” ― Albert Einstein
This article was inspired by Farnam Street.