Compliance matters

The Guardian, one of my favorite UK newspapers, just released an excellent, frightening article on Mexican drug cartels laundering money through an American bank, Wachovia. The drug money ended up in a lot of different places after winding its way through Mexican Casas de Cambio (money exchange and transfer services), the City of London and the world’s money laundering capital, Miami Florida.

One statistic that caught my eye was the amount of unchecked money Wachovia shifted from 2004 until the bank got caught out in 2010 — some US$378.4 billion, more than $4 billion of which Wachovia moved in cash. Some part of that total (the full numbers may never be known) was in effect, according to the Guardian, “no questions asked” banking services for drug dealers.

You can find the article here.

Reading the signs

Typical eye movement across a page
The track of a typical eye movement across a screen or page of text

I am in the middle of a series of signage articles on Slate. The first article in the series, The Secret Language of Signs, is worth reading and got me thinking in a number of different directions.

One road it sent me down was the idea that we are always looking for signs that reinforce our feelings of exceptionalism, be they political, professional or personal. Being special seems to be a psychological imperative.

In the learning and development world, we go so far as to grant post-graduate degrees in instructional design, incorporating ideas from graphics, psychology, organizational behavior, adult learning theory and various bits of technology research and development, among other specialty areas.