J. Michael Pinegar speaks about certification and signalling


The audience welcomed J. Michael Pinegar, the recipient of the 52nd Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecture Award, at Tuesday’s Forum in the JSB Auditorium.

He opened by explaining how financial markets impact our world today.

“You and I and the Church collectively benefit from financial markets,” Pinegar said.

Some may not think that the Church is involved in these markets. However, from the satellite systems that allow us to view General Conference down to the Cheerios that parents feed their kids to keep them calm during sacrament meeting, financial markets impact the Church and its members continuously.

It is important to know what makes financial markets work. Certification and signalling are key to making financial markets thrive. Pinegar illustrated this point by giving the analogy of the car salesman.

One car salesman only sells quality cars at a higher price while another only sells lemons at a lower price.  Because buyers do not know which salesman has the quality car, they choose the cheaper of the two, the lemon. If this continues the quality dealer will be forced to close his business.

The quality dealer could have a reputable mechanic come and tell the customer the car is good. This is an example of certification. He might also give a warrantee on his car. This is a signal to the customer of the quality of the car.

“In labor markets you should be intimately familiar with these concepts,” Pinegar said.

J. Michael Pinegar emphasizes the importance of initiative, integrity and intelligence. (Photo by Sarah Strobel Hill)

He continued his remarks by telling some experiences which illustrated three of the most important qualities that those entering the labor market should have: integrity, initiative and intelligence.

Pinegar first exemplified integrity through the story of a convert who was inactive through his teenage years. The convert explained that he eventually read the Book of Mormon, received a witness of it and decided to serve a mission.

As a result, his father disowned him, his coach told him he would lose his scholarships and his mother could not afford to pay for his education. He served a mission anyways.

“This student signaled integrity by remaining true to his witness,” Pinegar said.

Pinegar then used the story of another student to illustrate initiative. This student was being considered for a professional position and Pinegar was asked how the student reacted when approached about underperforming. Pinegar told the employer that this student didn’t wait to be approached. He recognized his weaknesses himself, took initiative and worked diligently to improve.

“Many students had difficulty finding internships but this student had two,” Pinegar said.

Lastly, Pinegar expounded on the principle of intelligence.

“Knowledge lacks glory without light,” Pinegar explained. “Light shows us how to use knowledge. This may be the reason why Brigham Young told Karl G. Maeser that he ‘ought not to teach even the alphabet or the multiplication tables without the Spirit of God.'”

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