Wonderful insights, Malcom...here's my take:
> "Capitalism doesn't work"
As far as I know there has never been an economic theory that has "worked"
-- depending, of course, on your definition of the word "work." Right now,
it's the best we have. . .should we try to change our economic system? If
so, how would we change it? This idea was touched upon in another thread:
Why is Wealth Important. Difficult problems. No easy answers.
> What I mean by this is that the current economic system prevailing in the
> West over the last hundred years or so cannot provide the stability that
> many of us seek in our lives and communities. Unfortunately no-one has
> come up with a better system which has been successfully tested in the
> real world, so we are left living and coping with instability.
Agreed, but don't you think that the instability (and I'd add
unpredictability) are major forces of innovation and discovery? Were life
stable and predictable what would inspire us to learn? Why would we
develop new theories? Why would we try to express those theories in
Sometimes I think we criticize the very things that motivate us to
advance, and improve our condition (both individually and collectively).
Could our desire for stability, and our frustration with the instability
of life, be such a condition?
> The question then arises that if this is true, does this mean that all our
> work at a corporate level within the economic system is just dealing with
> symptoms rather than changing anything which is going to decrease
Again, should our objective be to eliminate instability?
> This may be all we can do - economics as chaos theory - but it can explain
> why each new management approach runs up against the buffers and is
> then discredited in popular business culture because each management
> approach deals with symptoms, not the fundamental problem.
Good insight. . .I can't dispute that our society tenaciously seeks
stability. And that may indeed explain why so many management fads emerge
and disappear without having any substantial impact. Another possibility
is that those who conceived the theories and ideas behind the management
fads are simply more intelligent than those who try to use the new ideas.
Hence the idea is prostituted, and never properly used. . .leading,
inevitably, to it's collective demise? Of course this is an elitist
attitude, and I'm certainly not sure it is accurate. Just a passing
theory. . .
> I once asked Peter Senge if the Kaizen work we do at shopfloor level was
> worth doing if we did not get to the systemic nature of some of the
> problems. His reply was suitably yes and no - we have to do something,
> but we should also be aware of the systemic nature of problems.
I'd agree with Senge. . .some action is better than no action.
Unfortunately, no action is too often the norm in business. After all,
action is "risky" and you may act yourself right out of a job.
> Does this speak to anyone?
Malcolm, I don't know if it speaks to me, but I certainly understand where
you're coming from. Your message definitely caused me to think more
Benjamin B. Compton ("Ben") | email: email@example.com Novell, GroupWare Support Quality Manager | fax: (801) 222-6991
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>