Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Murphy’s Law (2)

16 April 2021


The essence of Murphy’s law is that if something can go wrong, it usually does. But why?? Nothing is guaranteed to operate without interference. Not even the sun. In about 5 billion years, our Sun will blow up and become a red giant (eg, Space). While that future event is a predicted certainty, the probability that it will happen tomorrow is extremely remote – or zero

Obviously, it can also be predicted when a car’s battery will go below the minimum voltage to start your car. That was the background for part 1 of this blog. I didn’t expect my car battery to go down on me. My car was less than a year old. The battery should have been fine. Much later, it appeared that an accessory was using way too much voltage. 

Still, it doesn’t explain why the accumulated probabilities went up so quickly and especially on that important day. Actually, Finagle’s law of dynamic negatives was/is more appropriate: “Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment”. Clearly, there is a chain effect.

Last year, my guest tried to change my dynamic negative. For some time, she succeeded until she became affected as well. Subsequently, her dynamic negative affected mine. After bringing her home, we were both finally able to shake off our dynamic negatives.

Perhaps, the true essence of Murphy’s Law is similar to an old saying: a chain is as strong as the weakest link. This brings me back to interconnectedness (my blogs). Wikipedia redirects interconnectedness to Oneness. Indeed oneness is related but it’s not a synonym. For example: the Internet of Things is a chain and even the internet is not “one” (eg, China, Russia).

Risk management departments are usually silos focussing on the main drivers, like credit risk, market risk, operational risk, and so on. Enterprise risk management should capture the underlying risks. However, it’s not always clear where accumulated risks are hiding (eg, $4.7 billion loss at Credit Suisse due to Archegos Capital).

Obviously, you can – and perhaps even should – repair the weakest link. However, there will always be a new weakest link in that chain. Any chain is also the result of time (eg, to complete), cost (eg, to buy or repair) and quality (eg, deliverables).

The Chain (1977) by Fleetwood Mac

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2, Wiki-3

I can still hear you saying (Still hear you saying) 

You would never break the chain (Never break the chain)

(Chain, keep us together) Run in the shadow

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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