What’s at stake

David M. Fishlow declares:

In the jargon of the day, a “stakeholder” is anyone with even a remote interest in some matter. Such interests, however speculative or supposititious, are usually described as “vested.”

But if I know you will cheat, and you know I will cheat, we will seek out a neutral, disinterested, presumably honest party to hold the stakes in our wager. Hence a stakeholder is a disinterested party, not an interested one. Stakeholders with a vested interest in something, when they in fact are doing nothing even remotely analogous to holding the stakes, and whose interest, dependent on innumerable contingencies, is anything but vested, make me postal.

One thought on “What’s at stake

  1. I’ve got a copy of the American Heritage Dictionary that lists “vested interest” as its own entry. What I want to know is who vests these interests. Who bestows the power on me to be self-serving?

    I’m also guessing that a “stakeholder with a vested interest” would be “another player in the game”, much in the same way that betting on the Superbowl makes me a quarterback.