A Tough Lesson about Incentives

I found this line very interesting in a recent conversation with Dominic Cummings when he related his experience of working in Russia:

“I also learned about incentives a lot. So everything I had to do with the airline was a total fiasco. And one of the things I figured I learned was — I, like many naive Westerners, got involved with it, thinking, well, the people obviously want to make the airline work, right? That’s the whole point of having an airline. It’s a successful airline. Wrong. Actually, what most Russians wanted to do was steal from the airline and move the money offshore. And I never realized that. And a lot of the people involved with it didn’t realize that.”

No doubt that there are a lot of lessons being learned as we speak.