Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!


Friday, January 27, 2012

 
Not being an "aggressive" or "destructive" atheist: You are doing it wrongly

Definitely on Team Dawkins rather than Team de Bum on this one. While in general I sympathise with the view that the Dawkins way of going about things is a bit counterproductive, Alain de Bottom is actually, literally proposing to build a 151ft tower, purely in order to tell Richard Dawkins to fuck off, and he does not seem to realise that this too is, in an important sense, quite a rude and aggressive thing to do.
5 comments this item posted by the management 1/27/2012 02:16:00 AM

Thursday, January 12, 2012

 
On prodigal sons

Henry's reference to Clive Crook in this context reminds me of an old bee I have in my bonnet about use of this parable.

That being, although the prodigal son gets his big bang-up party and calf roast to celebrate his homecoming, it is a vital part of the story that the next day he is, basically, out on his ear. Or at least, continuing to live at the mercy and on the charity of his younger brother. The line "for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found" is immediately preceeded by "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine". The import of that is that the younger son had taken his share of the inheritance and spent it, and that it was therefore gone. He got a calf for his party, but an already desperately unconvincing parable would have been rendered even more so if the father had said "and now he is back from all those late night coke and hooker parties, I will now redivide the patrimony up again, as if this had never happened".

The message being that when some fucker like Clive Crook changes his mind, or some dullard suddenly realises the Iraq War was a bad thing or whatever, then yes by all means shout "hurray, thank god for that". But just as hooker-boy didn't get stuck right back into position as son and heir, it doesn't mean that someone who has spent the last four years being an idiot can suddenly get all his credibility back, scot free. That's the kind of thinking that gives you the Quilliam Foundation.
10 comments this item posted by the management 1/12/2012 02:50:00 PM

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

 
Idea for a management book "Great Ideas From Failed Companies"

The idea being that

a) things like Royal Bank of Scotland or even Enron really weren't all bad - they had to have had a lot going for them in order to get so big in the first place.

b) you are much more likely to get an objective view from something where you know the whole trajectory in advance - if you'd done "Great Ideas From Enron" in 1999, you would probably have picked on the very worst things about the company, but now everyone can see the good as well as the bad. I suspect that if you did "The Goldman Sachs Way" right now, you'd end up with a list of what was trendy in the internal culture there right now, rather than the actual strengths. You also get a more realistic sense of how some of the great strengths of a company like Northern Rock were so intimately linked to their big weakness.

c) it reduces the massive hostage to fortune of the "In Search Of Excellence" effect (notoriously, about a third of the heroes of that book were in serious financial trouble two or three years later). And in doing so, it promotes a commendable modesty in terms of what management theorists might credibly be able to deliver - rather than a magic formula that's gonna make you as great! as Yahoo!, you're saying that look, business is difficult and failure is probably inevitable in the very long run, but here are a few things that you can get right.

I wonder how difficult it would be to get former executives to talk frankly, and what stage in the Kubler-Ross grieving cycle you would do best to catch them?
7 comments this item posted by the management 1/04/2012 03:20:00 AM


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