Skip to content

Category Archives: Ethics

Roundup: Capitalism and rampant self-interest

How do we run our businesses, and how do they interact with their markets? A recent WSJ editorial cartoon has a manager reporting back to the CEO on the results of a new initiative: “Productivity is up twenty percent since your picture was installed on our screen savers.” And Murat Yetkin, a Turkish columnist, yesterday made an interesting comparison between the fall in 1991 of an “oppressive socialism unconcerned with people” and what he sees as the collapse today of “a spoiled, aggressive type of capitalism which ignores human concerns.” Is that what’s going on? Are we just swinging from one extreme to the other in a competition over how best to exploit workers and consumers? Let’s take a brief look . . .

Make believe world

It has long been remarked that there is a converse correlation between economic cycles and enrolment in MBA programs. When business is down, the business schools start filling up with managers seeking to pad their credentials. And so as we enter the current global crisis we can probably expect a boom in MBAs within a year or two – just in time to hop the next economic train through town. But will they be driving the next boom, as so many imagine, or setting up the next bust?

Gentle cipher

When times are tough, we talk tough. We sound the call to arms, announce the equality of all before the greatness of the challenge we face, and declare our devotion to everyone who helps shoulder the burden. It’s can be a thrillingly satisfying display of our great-hearted spirit, our boundlessly magnanimous condescension. A classic example of this highly contrived concern and regard of “leaders” for their “followers” is effectively spotlighted by . . .

Comprehending leadership

One of the problems with traditional views of leadership is the tendency to confuse other characteristics with it. A common way we do this is by becoming so impressed by the seemingly powerful presence of one or another trait presumptively indicative of leadership as to uncritically assume that there is more behind it than there may actually be – sometimes even simply equating it with leadership, itself. . .

Roundup: Taking responsibility

During the past week of panicked news about the latest turn taken by the cancerous credit crisis, stories of this one being potentially worse in some ways than the Great Depression have fanned concern. Of course, it only stands to reason that it would turn out to be the same week I found myself reading Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” a physically and spiritually exhausting post-apocalyptic journey of a search for salvation and hope. A disorienting coincidence. . .