Saturday, October 29, 2011

Word

You Want To Know Why?

Via The Great Curmudgeon, very apt analysis -- and why don't we see more writing like this:
There has to be an underlying organizing principle for why they would bail out banksters, and fuck over homeowners, why they would subsidize big Pharma at the expense of their base voters. And I think I've finally gotten some of what's going on.

The president, and the Democrat's Senate leadership, reject movement liberalism. The ideology they follow is grounded in the impact of globalization on world capital and labor markets. They believe the US has to reduce labor costs to be 94 they’re the pros who have risen, through merit and diligence, to their positions.

This rings absolutely true in my own experience. The dominant theme within corporate structures has, for some time now, been about methodologies of organizing. I'm not talking about grunt-level organizing; the GANT charts and ITIL and ISO-9000 or Vann diagrams, RACIs and SIPOC... but a different trend altogether.

I'd argue, based on nothing but gut feelings and common sense, that we're entering a period where the dominant organizing principle of human culture is commerce for its own sake -- above nationalism, partisan politics or ideologies; even religious belief.

Business from a senior management or executive perspective has always been about creating structures to lead and motivate numbers of people to perform tasks which produce value. To them, this is beneficial, desirable, and (for them) the greatest high there is. They create an idea, champion it by negotiating support; build teams and processes; all to reach specific 'outcomes'.

Effectiveness as a manager is measured by how well and how quickly they can move from concept to execution, or go-live, or to market. This has been the case in business for generations.

However, technological development since the early 60's has allowed business to be conducted at light speed. It has opened up new industries (computing, software and and infrastructure, and new modes of commerce) and changes in how established business and markets are conducted.

Because the global, daily flow of money is the engine for corporate business and sovereign finances as well, some of the most profound changes have been in banking and finance. It doesn't mean just faster bank transfer times or quicker reconciliation of journal entries -- it's created entirely new, 'exotic' methods of investment (The past ten years have given us a taste of what that's like: How'd that work out for the world, by the way?).

Briefly put, I don't see the old trinity of business, government and finance as the main arbiters of human society any longer. Governments nearly everywhere have allowed globalization to develop to the point that multinationals now have organized political clout to counter policies by recalcitrant governments: The WTO. They have treaty and trade structures created for their benefit, such as NAFTA.

Consequently, national governments are superfluous to global corporate planning except as potential barriers to competition and acquisition, development, and profit. In this structure, human beings are an afterthought, except as consumers to be influenced by advertising, and 'resources' to be employed or dismissed according to the needs of the corporations.

Above all this is The Great Game of finance and the markets -- and not for individual shareholders and investors. The Great Game is for banking and investment houses, insurance companies, hedge fund and private portfolio managers; all of whom who deal with values in the billions -- and who provide financing for purely business corporations, who are first cousins: Banking and finance has been corporatized now, too.

Governments don't figure into their equations, either, except as something to influence with tiny infusions of campaign cash or free golf trips; paltry gifts for such massive return -- and that form of corruption has become institutionalized between government to a high degree. Politics is business, conducted by other means.

Human beings don't figure into the equations of finance managers, either. Like corporate business managers fascinated with business organization, financiers are lost inside a house of numbers.

Both corporate types believe in abstraction as the key to a terrible illusion controlling the world -- not some bizarre conspiracy theory, but the desire to believe in an illusion of control through labeling and definitions; through what they believe to be true about systems and people -- who exist, ultimately, to be 'motivated' and controlled to provide outcomes measured by other abstractions, like profit and return on investment.

The fundamental difference between corporate managers and, say, the #OccupyWallStreet protestors, isn't about competing systems of organization or goals, or even values. It's a difference between levels of consciousness, about how one perceives the world and approaches the mystery of what all this stuff is.

The corporate mind literally cannot conceive of, or understand, a mindset that believes in ideals which are allegedly the foundations of the human spirit. The concepts enshrined in the Constitution find lip service with corporations who want to market themselves in America.

In business, everything is negotiable, and so there are no firm principles or ideas -- except loyalty to the Brand and a willingness to execute the plans created by your senior leaders.

They might claim to understand how collective action works -- but where corporate organization has consensus-building, it's performed within a hierarchical, top-down structures, which rely on paradigms of direction coming from an acknowledged leader, success/fail or punishment/reward, instead of reaching shared goals through cooperation without penalties or blame.

It really is a collision of worlds: The value and belief structure of the corporate manager and financier, of many business school professors, do not perceive reality in the same terms as the rest of us. We all want to make sense of the world we inhabit -- but not all of us would agree that to build organizations where competition and profit are the highest expression of the human spirit, or what human culture should strive for, now, in the 21st century.