* The soldier's paradox is a terrible fallacy which causes all sorts of horrors in the world. The core twist of logic is to say that responsibility is a binary thing, all or nothing, you are either completely to blame or have done nothing wrong. Using this, along with the massive reduction in accuracy it creates, ends up with situations such as:
1) Reconnaisance agent sends back intelligence in an ambiguous or misrepresentative way (eg. young men involved in field exercises)
2) Officer, acting on that intelligence, sends harsh orders to his soldiers (eg. wipe them out in a preemptive strike)
3) Soldier, acting on orders, carries out atrocious acts (eg. machinegunning a troop of scouts)
4) They are all to blame, for simplicity's sake let's say 1/3 each
5) If blame is an all or nothing affair then the recon agent is not to blame since 1/3 rounds to 0 ("I was just doing my job. I didn't know what the intel would be used for")
6) For the same reason the officer is not to blame ("I had faulty intelligence, and anyway I didn't pull the trigger")
7) The soldier isn't to blame either ("I was just following orders. I have to do what the officer says")
This method of reducing responsibility to zero is the basic premise of any armed forces, but it also manifests itself in companies ("It isn't my fault life saving drugs can be patented, I have to work within the system", "I have a duty to the shareholders to keep profits up", "I couldn't give him the medicine because he couldn't afford it") and we are all guilty of it at some time or another, although it doesn't work with individuals (since a person can't be divided into sufficient pieces to assign blame to in any meaningful way) which is why we have our 'humanity'. Organisations have a tendancy to do this all of the time, and thus no organisation should be trusted explicity or implicity (well, that kind of goes without saying since levels of trust should be minimised wherever possible no matter the situation**). Monopoly organisations can dissolve responsibility for almost any act in this way (although sometimes the machinery conspires to set the blame bit of a single employee, like the CEO, if it is terribly serious and public relations would be best of with a scapegoat), and can thus continue to operate within large boundaries without fear of having their actions retaliated against. In areas with competition, however, the act itself is focused upon, rather than working out blame, since any negative effects on an existing customer base is important to eliminate in order to remain in business. In these areas there are often many small companies, which suffer much less from the soldier's paradox, since there is less room to spread the target around, but having small companies is also a boon for the average person since they are usually much more agile and can thus adapt to what people need, want and expect of them, rather than trying to wrench people into needing, wanting and expeciting whatever crap they happen to be peddling (I'm thinking of you, 'record industry').
** 'Trust' is an often misused word. It seems to have aquired a positive connotation, even though studying the actual meaning of the word shows what a terrible thing trust is. In the navy of the United States of Americans they apply the following argument to trust: If something is completely under control and not particularly critical or important, then it doesn't need to be trusted (since it makes no difference either way, like a fork). If something is not under control (for example it has come from a third party) and is not particularly critical or important, then it doesn't need to be trusted (since it doesn't matter either way, like a Sky box). If something is completely under control and is critical or important then it doesn't need to be trusted (since it is under control, and so can't do anything unexpected, like a car). If something is not under control and is critical or important then it needs to be trusted (since it leaves one completely at the mercy of another entity for a crucial part of whatever it is that needs to be done, like the person with a gun to your temple). In this context it would be beneficial to keep the number of loaded guns pointed to your head as low as possible. Of course, some things require trust, such as meaningful relationships, but that doesn't mean that such a thing should be taken lightly (to take the loaded gun example, just look at figures for couples killing each other). This argument sums up "Trusted Computing" quite well, by the way.