Lessons Learned From The Asian Financial Crisis 1997 Writing Sample

The Asian financial crisis of 1997 provided some valuable lessons about the global financial systems. What are three of those lessons? Use references and examples in answering this question. The Asian financial crisis of 1997 was a global phenomenon that acted as a fundamental learning curve for nation-states, graphic regions and ultimately the global economy. This crisis became increasingly baneful as it caused widespread economic and social turmoil to several emerging market economies, and even had negative effects on industrial economies.

The effects of the crisis have raised concerns about the stability and efficiency of the global financial system as well as inquiries about the lessons learned and adopted from this event. However according to Salient Policy Lessons from the Asian Crisis: A View from 1999 (2000) ‘learning these lessons will not eliminate the onset of a financial crises, however, it is good to gain a thorough understanding of them because these crises have an increasingly high fiscal costs and thus the lessons learned will minimize the impact of the crises”.

The Asian crisis has revealed that there are certain mechanisms that can be put in place to hinder the full effects of a crisis and prevent financial panic. Strengthening and implementing early system warning models is a valuable lesson that has been learned and adopted since it has the potential to avoid financial crises by identifying potential triggers which in turn prevents investor panic, another economic recession and to strengthen ones financial system. According to Could We Have Learned from the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98? 2011), prior to the onset of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, investors and policymakers misinterpreted some early warning signs of unsustainable lending booms, such as high corporate debt-to-equity ratios which reached 310 per cent in Indonesia and 518 per cent in Korea. Early Warning systems in the Republic of Korea: Experiences, Lessons, and Future Steps (2011) states that because of the Asian crisis, the Republic of Korea learned to adopt an effective early warning system model.

Beforehand during the crisis, Korea lacked the effective structure to predict the onset of a financial crisis because their old early system warning model focused on government external finances and ignored private debt stocks (Could We Have Learned from the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98? (2011). Therefore in response the Korea Centre for International Finance, whose sole purpose is to operate an Early warning system and monitor the possibility of crisis recurrence, was established.

Since then, there has been a widespread approach by many countries to improve the models designed to predict the onset of a financial crises and to develop policies to minimize losses, increase the recovery process, and minimize a countries susceptibility to a crisis, whether it originates internally or spreads across financial and goods markets. Overall, countries have learned that effective early system warning models are needed to target the dangers of high leverage ratios and credit growths (Could We Have Learned from the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98? 2011) and thus it is essential to adopt as it has the potential to minimise and avoid the full effects of the crisis on the global financial system. Due to the substantial impact of the financial predicament on global financial systems the Asian region and other countries have learned to embrace several domestic reforms and policies to destabilise the global financial system such as building vast foreign exchange reserves and implementing greater transparency, involving more and efficient data which is critical in financial market economies.

This is essential as it identifies the main causes of the crisis and its outcomes, as well as open opportunities for medium-term growth. Bank regulators in Asia were obliged to adopt greater transparency and supervise lending activity more strictly as it would enhance their ability to avoid currency and maturity mismatches. According to website The Asian Financial Crisis. What have we learned? (1999) the core of the structural reforms was in the financial and corporate sectors, where the strategy had two main parts.

The first part was to eliminate the aftermath of the crisis. This involved insolvent institutions embracing stability, with unstable ones being shut down and potentially well structured ones being enhanced. Moreover, the second part involved placing the system in a effective position, by improving financial supervision and regulation to help minimize the likelihood that these problems would occur again. For example Five years on (2002) states that South Korea’s recovery can be contributed towards a thorough reform and restructuring process on the domestic banking system.

Social sector reforms on the other hand aimed to strengthen and broaden existing social safety nets over those less fortunate, including the poor and those vulnerable (The Asian Financial Crisis. What have we learned? 1999). However according to the website debt and development: time to act, again (1998) stability and transparency alone cannot deliver growth and tackle poverty. Countries need to improve employability and to decrease social exclusion to become better prepared for the onset of a crisis.

Overall the question remains on the appropriateness of the effectiveness of structural reforms to counteract and overcome the hardships of the crisis as, over time, the programs became more sharply focused on financial and corporate reform, as well as social issues. In the wake of the Asian crisis, countries have learned to increase their efforts to intensify monitoring on cross-border capital flows through capital controls. Countries experienced large capital inflows and outflows, which raised questions to whether international capital movements are a major source of financial instability.

Lessons learned from the Asian crisis (1999) advocates that analysis of the crisis suggests that international capital movements can heighten the risk of creating financial instability, but due to the presence of a government safety net with ineffective supervision of banking institutions this can encourage capital inflows, which lead to a lending boom and excessive risk-taking on the part of banks. In addition capital outflows which can be highlighted as a source of foreign exchange crisis, can also conjure financial instability within emerging market countries.

In this view, individuals from different nations pull their capital out of a country which in turn causes the capital outflow to force a country to devalue its currency. For example The case of Chile and Malaysia (Capital controls) 2003 advocates that during the period of the Asian crisis which spread to Malaysia, the country’s foreign capital was leaving the country which in turn put a downward pressure on the exchange rate.

To prevent this situation from reoccurring, the Malaysian government avoided such depreciation by increasing the domestic interest rate, however this made consumption and investment deteriorate. Ultimately controlling capital in this case was considered a respective solution to their policy predicaments. However, in relation to the foreign exchange crisis in Asia, a leading factor in this issue was the problems associated in the financial sector which led to the speculative attack and capital outflows.

Therefore countries affected by the Asian crisis have learned to adopt an advanced exchange rate regime and capital controls suited to its local characteristics to help assist in monitoring capital flows as rigid and inflexible exchange rate regimes will be an easy target of international speculation (Lessons we should learn from the Asian financial crisis 2007). These capital controls are mandatory to identify financial weaknesses within the global financial system to enhance its efficiency rather than hindering it.

In conclusion, the financial crisis in Asia had a severe impact on the economies of countries in and outside this region and also placed the global financial system under tremendous pressure. In the aftermath of the crisis countries have learned to build a more sophisticated early system warning models and mechanisms to counter-act the onset of a financial crisis by identifying potential triggers and organizing capital and it’s channelling into productive activities.

In addition the adoption of capital controls like exchange controls is another lesson learned to help assist in monitoring capital flows to minimise the impact of a financial crisis and to lessen the effect that it will become a recurring phenomena. Moreover by embracing several structural reforms, countries have benefited from stronger financial and social sector surveillance. Overall these lessons are necessary to embrace in order to tackle future financial crisis and to strengthen the global financial system to be more prepared to decrease a countries vulnerability to the impacts that these crisis bring about.

REFERENCES Could We Have Learned from the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98? 2011, accessed 25/04/2011. http://www. frbsf. org/publications/economics/letter/2011/el2011-06. html Hyungmin Jung and Hoe Yun Jeong, Early Warning systems in the Republic of Korea: Experiences, Lessons, and Future Steps 2011, accessed 25/04/2011. aric. adb. org/pdf/workingpaper/WP77_Jung_Early_Warning_Systems. pdf Dilip K. Das, Salient Policy Lessons from the Asian Crisis: A View from 1999 (2000), accessed 25/04/2011. gcc. ucsd. edu/regions/asia_pacific/AFC/presentations/afc_das2. pdf Timothy Lane, The Asian Financial Crisis. What have we learned? 1999, accessed 26/04/2011. www. imf. org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/1999/09/pdf/lane. pdf Wu Xiaoling, Lessons we should learn from the Asian financial crisis (2007), accessed 27/04/2011, http://www. bis. org/review/r070817f. pdf The economist, Debt and development: time to act, again 1998, accessed 28/04/2011, http://www. economist. om/node/604609? story_id=E1_GDQGDJ . The economist, Five years on (2002), accessed 28/04/2011, http://www. economist. com/node/1213495? story_id=E1_TNTPQJV Frederic S. Mishkin, Lessons learned from the Asian crisis 1999, accessed 28/04/2011, www0. gsb. columbia. edu/faculty/fmishkin/PDFpapers/w7102. pdf Thomas Steffens, The case of Chile and Malaysia (Capital controls) 2003, accessed 28/04/2011, overons. rabobank. com/… /Capitalcontrols_tcm64-74919. pdf – Netherlands

Everest Simulation Reflection Report

Focus: Compare and contrast your individual and team’s experiences and results in the two Everest simulations using the following two course concepts:

  1. Groups & Teams
  2. Leadership

This report provides an executive summary of the evaluation of theoretical organizational and management concepts related to leadership, groups, and teams. It can be concluded that team processes directly influence how a team interacts.

This report discusses the various roles and characteristics that an effective leader must possess, such as determining priorities, encouraging group interaction and cohesion, and providing a source of enthusiasm for team tasks. Additionally, we compare the leadership styles of two leaders. In the first simulation, a task-oriented leadership style was utilized while a relationship-oriented approach was implemented in the second. Both had perceived benefits and disadvantages which we critically evaluated to determine which one worked best and why.

It has been observed that our team’s development process somewhat resembled the processes outlined by Tuckman’s model of group development. Furthermore, although a team contract enabled us to draft a strategy to follow, the simplicity and incomprehensiveness of the contract and the fact that it was established after group norms had been cemented may have had an immaterial impact on the team’s overall performance. We discuss the issues of a virtual team, and although several advantages are recognized, we found that conventional face-to-face teams performed better on average.

The conventional face-to-face teams can be further advantaged by combining different aspects and elements of virtual teams into the structure.

Executive Summary


The simulation experience


  • Leadership

    • Style of Leadership
    • Role of Leadership

  • Groups and Teams

    • Group Development
    • Team Contracts and Planning
    • Team Structure and Communication


    *Reference List**Appendix A: Goals on Track (1)* *Appendix B: Goals on Track (2)* TEAM CONTRACTIntroduction

The Everest Simulation is a virtual game that involves students climbing a computer-based “Mount Everest” in pre-allocated teams of five to six members. The simulation aims to enhance the skills of students through challenges by enabling them to reflect and make clear decisions. This report was commissioned to critically analyze the extent to which a theoretical framework could be applied to a leadership and teamwork simulation. The main goal of the simulation is to maximize the total objectives met by both individuals and teams.

However, the simulation was designed with conflicting objectives for each member, which required prioritization and compromise. As a result, we had to work together as a team, combine our resources, and evaluate our decisions throughout the process. The simulation was completed twice to allow for different strategic approaches to be implemented and compared. Our team utilized a different strategy in each simulation. Although we introduced a team contract and shared leadership style in the second simulation, its performance was lower than that of the first.

The following report aims to present my analysis of my personal and team experiences, examining areas of leadership and effective team management integrated with theoretical organizational and management concepts. Through this analysis, we can gain a better understanding of the complex and dynamic processes that govern both individual and group behavior. The Everest Simulation experience serves as the basis for this report’s findings from observations and results.

Our team consisted of six people who had no prior group experience. Each member was allocated one of the following roles: team leader, physician, marathoner, environmentalist, photographer, and observer. The team members needed to progress through stages that required a clearly thought-out course of action. We recorded our results and identified similarities and differences from managerial theory.

During the first simulation, there was an overemphasis on individual task completion. Unfortunately, due to the lack of planning beforehand, we were oblivious to the fact that each group member had conflicting goals. There was minimal group discussion and decision making was centralized around the leader. We did not effectively use all available resources because of the ambiguity of each medicine’s purpose; as a result, we administered incorrect medicines to corresponding symptoms. Although there was a low level of conflict observed in our team.

A series of poor decisions resulted in the need to rescue one team member. Despite these setbacks, the team and individuals still achieved an average score. Individual goal achievement was 80%, while team goal achievement was only 65%. The second simulation required better planning and strategic decision-making skills. A more collaborative approach was introduced, encouraging democratic discussions and shared decision-making among team members. Team conflict remained low, and a team contract helped improve strategic planning, although this did not translate into improved simulation results.

During the second simulation, one team member had to be lifted off due to further decisional mistakes while the rest of the team successfully reached the summit. As a result, team goal achievement slightly decreased to 63%, but individual goal achievement improved to 86%.

Although I played the role of a physician and an environmentalist during both simulations and did not hold a formal leadership position, I was able to observe firsthand the different approaches taken by each leader and contrast their results.

The evolution of leadership has generated two major leadership styles: the relationship-oriented approach, which focuses on developing teamwork, confidence, and trust within the group; and the task-oriented approach, which aims to maximize quality and performance by providing direction. (Collier & Esteban, 2000, p208)

In the first simulation, our leader adopted a task-oriented leadership style that promoted efficiency, productivity, and reliability. (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2005, p363) Although we were able to achieve a higher result under this leadership style, we lacked cohesion and interaction within our group.

The excessive stress on task achievement may have negative effects, such as discouraging risk-taking and diminishing motivation. In the second simulation, the leader adopted a relationship-oriented style with the intention of improving team relationships (Yukl & Lepsinger, 2005, p. 363). This was achieved through increased collaboration and interaction between members, which was evident in the form of more group discussions and consensus voting.

Furthermore, it can be observed that the leader is attempting to create a more shared leadership approach. Shared leadership is defined as a dynamic and interactive influence process among individuals in groups, with the objective of leading one another to achieve group or organizational goals. The leader’s perception towards leadership is further supported by Collier and Esteban (2000), who state that shared responsibility implies shared purposes and a commitment to pursuing the common good.

Leadership is crucial in determining the success and performance of a team, as demonstrated by the effectiveness of the team leader (Trent 2004, p. 94). According to Nienaber (2010), an effective leader must possess the skills to provide judgment and direction while also prioritizing tasks. Observing both leaders’ performances during two simulations shows a clear correlation between team leadership and performance.

Team leaders have a strong impact on group effort, cohesion, goal selection, performance norms, and goal attainment (Trent, 2004, p94). In this particular case study, the team leader failed to uphold these responsibilities. As a result, the team’s performance was inconsistent with some members scoring significantly higher than others. This was due to ineffective communication of direction and judgment and prioritizing objectives at the expense of some team members.

Leaders have a responsibility to improve group interaction, discourage member complacency, and provide enthusiasm for team tasks (Trent, 2004, p95). Our team overcame the problems associated with the first simulation by implementing shared leadership in the second simulation. We utilized team discussions which aided in understanding our assigned task and allowed us to reflect on variables that affected the quality of our team interaction. This reflection helped us formulate performance strategies.

Effective leaders play a crucial role in creating an environment that promotes group effort and constructive engagement among members (Trent, 2004, p.95). This was evident in our team’s increased participation during discussions. Although we scored higher in our first simulation than the second one, there was a significant improvement in the interaction within the team, which was further enhanced by better communication channels and greater autonomy. Our formal group, created to complete both Everest simulations, underwent group development as a task force.

Tuckman’s model of group development incorporates five sequential stages that resemble the evolution of our team. This model can be applied to our team’s experience to a certain degree. During simulation one, we observed the three stages of forming, norming, and performing within our Everest team. These stages are consistent with what Tuckman’s model advocates.

The forming stage is characterized by pre-Everest activities where we had the opportunity to meet and bond with each other. We also discussed strategies we might utilize during simulation one.

During the first Everest simulation, our team had already established a set of well-defined norms and expectations. We agreed upon a specific time and location for meetings, democratic in-class discussions, and email communication as our primary means of contact. According to Kozlowski and Bell (2003, p. 350), these norms were the result of various work-based and social interactions that occurred during the group development process. As a result, we transitioned into the performing phase described by Tuckman (1965, p. 90) as a period of mutual task interaction” with minimal emotional interference as our group entity sought to “support rather than hinder.” Since Everest groups began as task forces classified under natural group settings, we entered the adjourning phase after completing the second simulation with an emphasis on debriefing and discussing outcomes. However, it was observed that there was virtually no storming phase during either simulation which marked a distinct deviation from Tuckman’s model.

The absence of group conflict may have been more detrimental than beneficial to our performance. It hindered our capability to generate a wider range of strategies and opinions, resulting in a substandard performance strategy. This could be mainly attributable to the fact that we were unfamiliar with fellow members, and thus, we were reluctant to share and voice out dissent or disagreements.

Team Contracts and Planning

The first simulation was flawed due to a misunderstanding of the team objective, lack of planning before the simulation, and an overemphasis on individual goals rather than team goals.

We neglected and were oblivious to the bonus point challenges, as we were blinded by the given information and went ahead without evaluating other sources of information. This demonstrates the anchoring effect (Kahneman & Tversky, 1974). Furthermore, collating individual success is essential in determining overall team performance (Wolfgang & Morhart, 2008, p.103), which is reflected in the fact that a few group members performed significantly better than others.

Despite the environmentalist needing to be rescued, our team managed to score 65%. According to Mathieu and Rapp (2009, p. 90), in order to enhance team performance, it is necessary for members to produce superior work and engage in positive intra-group interaction. The introduction of a team contract in the second simulation played an important role by assimilating expectations regarding leadership, communication, and group processes while holding members accountable to a comprehensive framework.

Through efficient utilization of our communication systems, we were able to conquer the problems faced in the first simulation. We channeled strategic information and dispersed our knowledge and thoughts (Alge, Wiethoff & Klein, 2003, p. 29). By developing a strategy that calculated the tradeoff between achieving one team member’s goal compared to another’s and allocating weights to each objective, we reached a consensus that our main priority was to gain as many points as possible while minimizing compromise of team goals (Kahneman & Tversky 1974). However, even with well-developed team performance strategies (Mathieu and Rapp, 2009, p. 90), the incomprehensiveness of the team contract may have contributed to our lower team score. This is consistent with Mathieu and Rapp’s findings (2009, p. 90) that team contracts are meant to solidify group norms during a team’s foundational stages.

In actual fact, the team contracts were introduced after the first Everest simulation, during which group norms had already been established. Therefore, implementing a team contract at that point would have had no significant impact on the team’s overall performance.

Regarding team structure and communication, during the first simulation we decided to adopt a conventional face-to-face approach and use technology as a complementary aspect (Arnison & Miller, 2002, p.170).

By utilizing this structure, we were able to enhance team communication without hindering working and social interactions between members. Conducting our Everest simulation face-to-face was an important factor that demonstrated the link between communication quality and resulting team performance. This approach supported our need for negotiation, discussion, and decision-making throughout the simulation.

We recognized the inconvenience of virtual networks in regards to discussions and information sharing. We also acknowledged the unique aspects of face-to-face communication, such as the transmission of values, attitudes, and commitment (Alge, Wiethoff & Klein, 2003, p. 29). Our choice of medium definitely worked to our advantage as it enabled clear transfer of information, interpretation of non-verbal communication and instantaneous modification of decisions (Huebner, Varey & Wood, 2008, p.207).

In an attempt to replicate the simulation conditions of the first trial, our team encountered an unexpected setback. One member was unable to meet at the specified time due to personal issues. As a result, this member completed the simulation solely through virtual networks. Unfortunately, this virtual structure impeded our ability to interact both professionally and socially as a team (Arnison & Miller, 2002, p170).

In the second simulation, collaboration was limited to non-verbal and face-to-face communication. This restriction worked against us because we were unable to infer the perception of our missing group member. As a result, we could not understand or empathize with his perspectives on decisions made. This was particularly problematic as he held the important role of physician, and decisions regarding medicine administration were not properly communicated.

According to Arnison and Miller (2002), a lack of productive interaction among team members can hinder the effectiveness of the team. This accurately reflects the situation at hand, as one team member was not proactive in using the in-system chat box, making communication difficult at times. Additionally, Arnison and Miller (2002) state that team members working from home may feel isolated due to their location, which can lead to a loss of identity as a team member.

In conclusion,

Despite the decline in the performance of the second simulation, we are satisfied with other aspects of the experience. The interaction among team members was positive, and there was a significant increase in group cohesion. This reflects the minimal amount of conflict that was observed. All members were able to express their ideas freely within the group, and everyone contributed suggestions that brought benefits to our simulation. The Everest simulation provided a highly valuable experience for students to understand processes at both individual and group levels.

Through our experiences with both simulations, it can be shown that elements of leadership and teamwork theories can be applied with varying degrees of success. Furthermore, reflecting on my performance has enabled me to identify weaknesses in my techniques and strategies, giving me the opportunity to refine them.


  • Alge, B., Wiethoff, C., & Klein, H. (2003). When does the medium matter? Knowledge-building experiences and opportunities in decision-making teams.” Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 91, 26-37.
  • Arnison, L., & Miller, P. (2002).

Virtual Teams: A Virtue for Conventional Teams

Collier, J., & Esteban, R. (2000). Systematic Leadership: Ethical and Effective. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 21, no. 4, p207-215.

Huebner, H., Varey, R., & Wood, L. (2008). The Significance of Communicating in Enacting Decisions. Journal of Communication Management, vol. 12, no. 3, p204-223.

Kahneman, D., & Tversky A. (1974). ‘Judgement under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases’. Science, vol. 185, pp.1124-1131.

Kozlowski S.W.J., & Bell B.S.(2003).

Work groups and teams in organizations. In W. C. Borman & D. R. Ilgen (Eds. ), Handbook of psychology: Industrial and organizational psychology (Vol. 12, 333–375). New York: Wiley. Mathieu, J. E. & Rapp, T. L. (2009). ‘Laying the Foundation for Successful Team Performance Trajectories: The Roles of Team Charters and Performance Strategies. ’ Journal of Applied Psychology. 94 (1), p90-103 Nienaber, H. (2010). Conceptualisation of management and leadership. Management Decision , vol 48, no. 5, p661-675. Trent, R. (2004). Team Leadership at the 100-foot level. Team Performance Management , vol 10, no. /6,p 94-103. Tuckman, B. W. (1965). ‘Developmental Sequence in Small Groups. ’ Psychological Bulletin. 63 (6), p-384-399 Wolfgang, J. , & Morhart, F. (2008). Navigating towards Team Success. Team Performance Management , vol 14 , no. 1/2, p102-108. Yukl, G. , & Lepsinger, R. (2005). Why Integrating the Leading and Managing Role Is Essential for Organisational Effectiveness. Organizational Dynamics , vol 34, no. 4, p361-375. APPENDIX A: GOALS ON TRACK (1) Goals| Points| Reach Summit | 2| Complete climb without needing to be rescued| 3| Avoid getting frostbite| 1| All climbers spend extra day at any camp| 1|

Your Points for Personal Goals | 7| Round 2: Medical Challenge Points| 0| Round 3: Weather Challenge Points| 1| Round 4: Oxygen Tank Allocation Points| 0| Your Total Points| 8| Your Total Possible Points| 10| Percent of Your Goals Achieved| 80%| Percent of Team Goals Achieved| 65%| APPENDIX B: GOALS ON TRACK (2) Goals| Points| Complete climb without needing to be rescued| 3| Spend extra day at Camp 4 during ascent| 1| Your Points for Personal Goals | 4| Round 2: Medical Challenge Points| 1| Round 3: Weather Challenge Points| 0| Round 4: Oxygen Tank Allocation Points| 1| Your Total Points| 6| Your Total Possible Points| 7|

Percent of Your Goals Achieved| 86%| Percent of Team Goals Achieved| 63%| TEAM CONTRACT TEAM CONTRACT Everest 2 Team Name: Team 135 | Name| Role| Contact| 1| Casey Robinson| Leader| 2| Edward Yeun| Marathon Runner| 3| Edwin Cheung| Photographer| 4| Jennifer Kong| Observer| 5| Josh Abbott| Physician | 6| Andrew Collignon| Environmentalist| Team Procedures 1. Day, time, and location of team members for Everest 2: Monday 6pm 23rd April. 2. Preferred method of communication before and during Everest 2 (i. e. , e-mail, mobile, chat function, face-to-face in a specified location). A) Before the climb * Email

B) During the climb: Face to face
C) After the climb: Email / Face to face

Team goal for Everest 2:
– To maximize our team goal percentage in comparison with the first simulation attempt.
– To achieve more than 65% of team goals.
– To communicate all relevant ideas, issues, problems, and solutions that arise during the simulation.

Decision-making policy:
Group discussion with team leader making final decision. Team participation is encouraged.

How will we resolve conflict?
Discussion and sharing of thoughts between conflicting team members. The team leader will act as a mediator.

Strategies for encouraging/including ideas and debate from all team members:
Brainstorming sessions and open discussions are encouraged.

Strategies for achieving our goal:
Individual goals for each member will be identified, and which goals will be most beneficial to the entire team communicated. A forum for ideas from each member will be provided. The team leader will act as a mediator to ensure everyone contributes equally to discussions.

Preferences for leadership (team leader only, shared leadership):
One leader (team leader) as per voting. Decision making involves the entire group; however, in cases of indecision between members, the team leader makes absolute decisions.

Personal Accountability:
Expected individual attendance must be punctual throughout Everest 2 simulation; respond promptly to emails from other teammates; share opinions before moving to the next stage.

What are the consequences for lack of engagement in Everest 2?
Observers will report any non-compliance to the team leader, who will address it with offending team member.

Commentary On “Impossible Object” Nicholas Mosley

In Nicholas Mosley’s prose piece Impossible Object,” he depicts the life of Hippolyta, a mother who is separated from her husband and has one child. Mosley’s portrayal of Rome as a city, along with his depiction of Hippolyta herself and her relationship with her husband and child, illustrates his main idea that happiness and love are unattainable for affluent members of society.

The opening sentence of the prose piece introduces Hippolyta overlooking the Borghese gardens. This image sets up an atmosphere of regality, where Hippolyta is described as looking over gardens that are natural and beautiful. This image sets up a contrast to Hippolyta’s life, which is not very natural or beautiful since we later find out she is separated from her husband. Following this sentence is the introduction of wealth: “Hippolyta was rich.”

Hippolyta is described as a large, thin” girl with eyes “half closed” and “hands pushing behind her as if she was in a gale.” The descriptions of her eyes portray her as if she is not awake or close to being dead. Her arms pushing behind her depict the stance of an authoritative figure, displaying a contrast between her and her husband. Right after Mosley depicts Hippolyta’s physical appearance, he introduces her husband who is an “Italian Aristocrat.” This immediate reference to money continues the theme of wealth.

When the author describes the frenzy that Hippolyta works herself up into, he first portrays her as somewhat barbaric by saying, she would hit her fist against her body like a parachutist searching for a failed ripcord.” This presents a stark contrast to the lavish lifestyle that is uncovered. The simile of the parachutist helps depict the fact that Hippolyta is not only confused but also on her way to self-destruction. A parachutist with a failed ripcord will lose their life.

Although Hippolyta is described as imposing and superior in physical appearance, she is also portrayed as dependent on her husband. This is evident when it is stated that “Hippolyta seemed still attached to her husband by the umbilicus of the telephone; although separated no one cut her free.” This symbolizes that despite living a lavish lifestyle, she remains bound to her husband and unable to fully enjoy life. Additionally, Hippolyta’s relationship with her husband and child further emphasizes this constraint as she must fulfill the role of nurturer for her child due to her relationship with her husband.

Hippolyta is depicted as a wife who tortures and traps her husband, like a trapped fly,” working him into a frenzy and showing her friends. The narrator also compares Hippolyta to Caligula, an illegal torturer who once held a lot of power in Rome and watched men being kept alive in tiny cages. This is parallel to what Hippolyta is doing to her husband. She even engages the narrator in her torture methods when she holds out the phone, saying “She did her slow laugh into the receiver…”

The first paragraph describes Hippolyta as being separated from her husband. This reference indicates that she no longer lives with him, but it also establishes a contrast to her current situation. Additionally, the paragraph presents contrasting images of Hippolyta and her husband.

He is described as a minor Italian aristocrat, while she is described as powerful and matronly. This image is juxtaposed with her being bound to her husband financially and through their child. Hippolyta, in fact, is bound to her husband through their shared child, which they use as a weapon to fight and keep themselves going. The dysfunctional relationship with her husband portrayed through various images affects her relationship with her child.

The narrator states that Hippolyta’s child was sitting in a high chair while its parents failed to communicate. This suggests that Hippolyta does not communicate with either her husband or her child. This lack of communication is further demonstrated during Hippolyta’s conversation with her husband, where she pays no attention to her child who is spilling soup on the floor.

The child has a face like a war-leader, battling the war between her neglectful parents. As the narrator pours more soup, the child watches to see what her enemies, specifically her mother who neglects her, would do. When Hippolyta notices that the child has spilled the soup, she lunges with either love or violence; either reaction may have pleased the child.

However, Hippolyta was unable to move far due to the telephone cord. This suggests that the child is being neglected in their relationship with Hippolyta, as they desire any form of attention even if it is violent. Hippolyta’s relationship with her husband hinders her ability to love and care for her child, which is a crucial aspect of family values. The narrator must clean up the mess.

Instead of introducing the narrator to Hippolyta’s child, she instead says, Do you like my kid?” almost addressing the child as an object. Later on, she continues to say, “I’d be dead without that kid.” This brings to the surface the reality of her situation: she is using her child as a means of getting money from her husband.

The state of Hippolyta’s family and relationships within the family helps to depict the state of disorder. Hippolyta neglects her child and has a broken relationship with her husband, which in turn reflects the fact that her life is absent of love – one of the most fundamental emotions needed to be happy. The broken state of the family emphasizes that love is one of the impossible objects Hippolyta is unable to attain.

The setting of Rome, as well as the environment described, emphasizes Hippolyta’s cruel leadership style. She is portrayed as an authoritative figure who is unable to experience happiness due to her obsession with money and material possessions.

When the author writes about his visit to Rome, he draws parallels between the city and Hippolyta. He describes Rome as a place where cruelty was once considered normal and notes that Hippolyta’s flat is located near where Caligula once walked and watched men being kept alive in tiny cages.

The conflict between Hippolyta and her husband serves as a contrast to the lavish lifestyle she lives, which is presented in the opening remarks. Her flat, overlooking Borghese gardens, was full of poets, drug-addicts, and hairdressers who symbolize the fashionable world. He also describes her flat as a crenellated building around which traffic swam in a moat. This portrayal sets Hippolyta apart from commoners.

She is once again depicted as an authoritative figure who owns her fortress. This separates Hippolyta from the rest of the people living in her flat. The narrator reinforces this idea with the image, Rome lay beneath us with its rooftops and turrets.” This description of Rome being closed off with rooftops and turrets parallels Hippolyta herself, as she is closed off and will never experience love or happiness. This connects to the title of the prose piece because happiness for Hippolyta is an “impossible object,” something she will never attain.

During the narrator’s discussion of Hippolyta’s childhood, he mentions that she was raised in Los Angeles and came to Rome as a young girl. In doing so, he provides insight into both cities. The narrator describes Los Angeles as a place without a center, spread out like split milk. This description is ironic because despite living in Rome, Hippolyta herself is split from her husband. Additionally, the narrator characterizes Rome as the center of law, order, and religion. However, this description is also ironic since Hippolyta does not lead a life of order.

In fact, it is quite the opposite. This is later elaborated in the closing remarks when Hippolyta’s drawing is described to have silk-covered chairs” and “high windows looking over the garden.” The narrator also mentions, “There were children riding on ponies. Lovers lay on the grass.” These two images emphasize what Hippolyta lacks in her life: a happy child and love. This lack of fulfillment is explicitly stated when the narrator says, “I thought – Hippolyta has health, money, good looks, a child; so she wants to hurt other people and destroy herself.” This alludes to the fact that despite Hippolyta’s affluence, it does not buy her happiness; in fact, it seems to only contribute to her corruption as a person.

During the narrator’s encounter with Hippolyta, he expresses his disappointment by saying, I thought we would get on well.” This flashback conveys a feeling of opposition. Although Hippolyta is portrayed as a nurturer who provides him with a home, bed, food and communication, it is clear that she does not fulfill his needs because material possessions alone cannot satisfy the human spirit.


In Nicholas Mosley’s prose piece The Impossible Object,” he conveys the idea that money and wealth cannot buy love or happiness through the characterization of Hippolyta and her relationships. Although Hippolyta is torturing her husband, she is actually the victim because her search for happiness and love will never be fulfilled. She neglects her child, which is the only possible source of love for her. Mosley critiques wealth as a poor replacement for fundamental human values such as love and happiness.

error: Content is protected !!