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Drucker and Friedman-Apologists for pychopaths?

Drucker was the man who predicted way back in the 1950's that computers would revolutionize the world. He is among the most revered management gurus.    I am not sure how much i agree with this article. Anyone else read counterpunch here? . I have nothing to do with the book, b.t.w nor with the website ;-).  But its a breathtakingly different from the usual "Gurus" that we are thrust upon in colleges and the media.

http://counterpunch.org/mokhiber02172004.html

<<
Peter Drucker tells Bakan: "If you find an executive who wants to take on social responsibilities, fire him. Fast.">>

<<The filmmakers juxtapose well-shot interviews of defenders and critics with the reality on the ground -- Charles Kernaghan in Central America showing how, for example, big apparel manufacturers pay workers pennies for products that sell for hundreds of dollars in the United States -- with defenders of the regime -- Milton Friedman looking frumpy as he says with as straight a face as he can -- the only moral imperative for a corporate executive is to make as much money for the corporate owners as he or she can.>>>

<<The corporation is irresponsible because in an attempt to satisfy the corporate goal, everybody else is put at risk>>

Karthik
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"I have nothing to do with the book, b.t.w nor with the website ;-). "

liar.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

<<The corporation is irresponsible because in an attempt to satisfy the corporate goal, everybody else is put at risk>>

The last statement was too sweeping. In India, people are extremely well paid (by indian standards) by american multinational software companies. Bill Gates has  donated hundreds of milllions to charity. And no, dont get me wrong here. His money, newspapers have written has actually made a difference in the lives of others in helping fight against malaria/AIDS etc. So dismissing corporate charity as publicity stunts (as the left almost invariably does), is not entirely right.

At the same time, i have no regards for those who employ sweat labor and pay pennies.

Karthik
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

FullNameRequired ,

I fully confess. I wrote the book and also funded the movie.
I also own the website. I was trying to market it to the millions who visit this forum. My apologies.

Karthik
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"I fully confess. I wrote the book and also funded the movie.
I also own the website. I was trying to market it to the millions who visit this forum. "

you are also a liar.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Leftist, bleeding heart liberal drivel. Welcome to the presidential election season.

Rush Fan
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Yah dude Neil Peart rules.

Matt Conrad
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I wonder what percentage of the peopl reading that article even know what an "externality" is?

the artist formerly known as prince
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Ahh...!

Too many words on that page.  Could you dumb it down for me?

GuyIncognito
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

<<Leftist, bleeding heart liberal drivel. Welcome to the presidential election season. >>

Firstly, i dont vote in the U.S. Secondly, as i posted, i was not sympathetic to its entire contents.

But i cannot imagine drucker or milton friedman being so callous. Drucker used to be my hero !

I mean,  atleast he could have said he does not condone such practices.

Karthik
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

>I mean,  atleast he could have said he does not condone >such practices.

How do you know he didn't?  This is why I don't trust
this sort of hit-piece "documentary".  I'm sure Chomsky
and Moore, who seemingly agreed with the biases of
the filmmakers, were treated far more carefully in the
editing room than Friedman and Drucker - and these
guys are smart enough to not draw attention to the
film by bitching in public if the filmmakers did a hatchet
job on their interviews.  So, you'll never know.

I'm not sure what these pieces accomplish - they
certainly don't change minds.

x
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"I'm not sure what these pieces accomplish"

Well, Michael Moore has thousands of master's degree having, NPR listening, sexually frustrated upper middle class went to Bennington or Swarthmore 33 year old guilty wasp females throwing themselves at him. 


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

From the article: "Engage in social responsibility -- pay more money to workers, stop legal pollution, lower the price to customers -- and you'll likely be sued by your shareholders."

Z
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

[Try again]

From the article: "Engage in social responsibility -- pay more money to workers, stop legal pollution, lower the price to customers -- and you'll likely be sued by your shareholders."

Reading statements like this make me realize that there are some ideas that I just don't understand.  This brings up several obvious questions:

Why are these particular actions considered "socially responsible"?

How is any company going to pay more to its workers and lower prices to customers at the same time without going bankrupt in a fairly short time?  Well, if it can find a way to make its products more efficiently it could do both and due to market pressure that is what happens over time, but that is normal corporate activity.

What kind of legal pollution are they thinking of and why should a corporation decide to stop it?  They will be expending resources to do that.  Should they be the ones to decide where those resources are expended or should it be the political process or the EPA?

I just haven't done enough reading to figure out the thinking behind these calls for "social responsibility".  These corporate critics  want corporations, or, more accurately, corporation boards or executives to be making decisions that should be made by customers or workers or even politicians and government agencies. 

Z
Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Neil Peart does rule but I'm kinda into Dennis Chambers' combination of power and speed. And that wicked deep groove...

fool for python
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

> pay more money to workers, stop legal pollution,
> lower the price to customers
> ...
> Why are these particular actions considered "socially responsible"?

The first two seem too vague (I'm not even sure I understood what "stop legal pollution" is supposed to mean), and different interpretations can prove or disprove their point. As for the last one, it is, IMHO, a lot more complicated than it seems (I find nothing "socially responsible" about it, per se). John Doe (JD) wants lower prices. What JD forgets is that lower prices mean someone else's job will probably get the axe. And then, guess what - one day, it's JD's boss who's feeling the pressure to lower prices, and it's JD's job that probably gets the axe. One would hope that JD would, on that day, fully understand that competition should be about better service, not lower prices. Unfortunately, experience shows one is hoping too much. Before you ask, I have a little JD within me, just like everybody else :)

> Well, if it can find a way to make its products more efficiently
> it could do both and due to market pressure that is what happens over
> time, but that is normal corporate activity.

I disagree. "Normal corporate activity" is to find any possible way to lower costs without bothering about efficiency (sp?), because no one has time to stop and think on how to make the corporation more efficient. I don't mean that people can't come up with ways to become more efficient and reduce waste, but rather that corporations can't afford to wait for that to happen, because you need results within 3 months.

> These corporate critics  want corporations, or, more accurately,
> corporation boards or executives to be making decisions that should
> be made by customers or workers or even politicians and government agencies. 

Sort of. Some of these decisions should be made by government and society, as you point out. However, corporations (generally speaking) do drive legislation these days, which means they have a greater share of responsibility (we both seem to agree that they shouldn't). Furthermore, and more important, is that both government and corporations have been setting the example for unaccountability, which everyone is more than happy to follow (although we conveniently forget this little detail when we turn ranting mode on). I believe the reasoning seems to be along the lines of "If I'm not accountable for it, then it's not my problem - let someone else decide, I have more entertain... er, important things to do".

-----
"Suravye ninto manshima taishite (Peace favor your sword)" (Shienaran salute)
"Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again" (Amys, Aiel Wise One)

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

"Well, Michael Moore has thousands of master's degree having, NPR listening, sexually frustrated upper middle class went to Bennington or Swarthmore 33 year old guilty wasp females throwing themselves at him. "

This sentence does not parse. 

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Yes, the example is somewhat incomplete. How about this:

#include <vector>

#include "my_consts.h"

int main(int argc, char* argv[]) {
  std::vector<MikeMooreFan *> mmfv;
  MikeMooreFan* mmfp;

  for(int i = 0; i < K_MMFCSIZE; i++)
  {
    mmfp = new MikeMooreFan();

    mmfp->SetMasterDegree( true );
    mmfp->SetNPRListen( true );
    mmfp->SetSexualSatisfactionLevel( sslFrustrated );
    mmfp->SetSocialClass( scUpperMiddle );
    mmfp->SetWentTo->( wtBennington || wtSwarthmore );
    mmfp->SetAge( 33 );
    mmfp->SetPieceOfMind( pomGuilty );
    mmfp->SetWorldView( wvWASP );
    mmfp->SetGender( gFemale );

    vn.push_back( mmfp );
  }

  // Use vn as necessary

  // Don't bother delete-ing. Pass it along
  // to Java or C# module, to be
  // garbage-collected
}

:))))))

-----
"Suravye ninto manshima taishite (Peace favor your sword)" (Shienaran salute)
"Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again" (Amys, Aiel Wise One)

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Damn...

First bug report just in...

Replace

    vn.push_back( mmfp );

with

    mmfv.push_back( mmfp );

Version 1.0.1 ready.

Paulo Caetano
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The corporation is a psychopath and if it weren't I dare say most of us wouldn't like the consequences.  Almost all of the progress made over the past 200 years has been the direct or indirect result of businesses behaving in this manner.  Maybe some people would prefer a return to the simple agrarian days of the 18th century.  Perhaps some misguided individuals think we can have it both ways.  I share neither opinion.

It is absurd to expect businesses to reign in their own externalities.  If I choose not to pollute and none of my competitors follow suit, my higher priced products will soon be out of the marketplace and I will be out of business.  In a Darwinian fashion the market selects for these tyoes of businesses.

This is why we handle externalities via laws.  The government sets the same polllution control standards for everyone so no one gains an advantage.  Over time, as technology advances, we can "afford" to reduce pollution more and more.

I doubt Milton Friedman takes the position that pollution is really cool and we should create as much of it as we want so long as we can produce more Barbie dolls.  My guess is he just thinks it is wrong to expect indivdual corporate leaders to handle it in isolation.

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Paulo, your ability to argue for higher prices scares me.

To take your argument to its natural conclusion, let us charge a million dollars for everything. Because we suddenly have a lot of money and so we can pay our workers a lot more. Because they have more money, they spend more and everyone is happy.

I mean what the F**K???

Tapiwa
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

"the only moral imperative for a corporate executive is to make as much money for the corporate owners as he or she can."

Sounds reasonable to me.

Norrick
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

"the only moral imperative for a corporate executive is to make as much money for the corporate owners as he or she can."

which leads directly to situations such as Ford producing and selling a car that they knew would explode on the slightest excuse.

by "legal pollution" is meant pollution that is not illegal, but still is pollution. Laws cannot handle all particular cases, on one hand, and are also heavily influenced by corporate lobby on the other.

the problem with this lack of morals is that it has bad long-term consequences for the society in general, and short-term advantages for the particular company. Laws should handle this, but generally laws are not a substitute for morality. You cannot police everything.

Also, since companies are becoming more and more powerful, they influence the laws and avoid them. To return to the Ford example, they managed to delay the adoption of security standards for many years, mainly through lobbying. All that to save 20$ per car sold.

Dimitri.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

> Paulo, your ability to argue for
> higher prices scares me.

Sorry, maybe I should've made my point clearer.

I wasn't defending higher prices per se, only stating that lower prices should come from improved efficiency. Unfortunately, lower prices are obtained mostly by getting people to work in conditions we wouldn't probably accept for ourselves, except as a last resource. So, lower prices come from finding people desperate enough to work under unnaceptable conditions (please, note - "unnaceptable" by western standards).

E.g., wal-mart's policy of establishing a mandatory reduction in price for a product every year - I find it ridiculous. Many find it excellent because it demands that their suppliers keep "improving". The fact is, I don't believe the majority really improves - they just cut on costs as much as they can locally, and then they offshore, i.e., they get the same "efficiency", but at a much lower cost. Actually, judging by what wal-mart can "afford" to pay their workers, I don't think they're so much of an example of what a corporation should be.

Also, IMHO, competition should be focused on improving quality, not lowering prices. But, guess which of the two is easier to achieve?

What I was trying to say was that lower prices come at a high cost to our lives, and no one seems to care. I've actually heard that it's OK for the "Nike kids" to work, because at least they're not starving. Unfortunately, the social geniuses who proferred this didn't comment on what they considered an adequate childhood for *their* children (BTW, I call them "Nike kids" because it seems the easier way to specify what I'm saying; I'm not implying Nike is any worse than your average corporation).

To state it as clearly as I can manage:

If "the only moral imperative for a corporate executive is to make as much money for the corporate owners as he or she can" is an acceptable reality, then let's accept it once and for all. Let's stop bitching about offshoring, let's stop worrying about child labour, let's stop worrying about corruption, and lobbying, etc, and let's assume it's just "biz as usual". In relation to lower prices, let's just accept them, and forget about how they are obtained. So, to take my example above, when JD loses his job, he should just say "I'm glad this happened, because it's all in the sake of lower prices for consumers. Now, it's time to start again".

We can't claim we accept this reality, and then get all fired up when it bites us in the a**.
-----
"Suravye ninto manshima taishite (Peace favor your sword)" (Shienaran salute)
"Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again" (Amys, Aiel Wise One)

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, February 19, 2004

I don;t believe that Drucker or Friedman are being callous. They are referring to a paradox that has been around since Adam Smith wrote "The Wealth of Nations" in 1776: that the greatest social good is obtained when all players in a market economy pursue thier own selfish interests.

You can argue how true this is, either now or at any time, and it is probably true that Adam Smith's disciples have been much more extreme than the master, but callous is not the correct word. A surgeon may be mistaken when he decides to amputate your leg, but he is not callous.

Now callousness is what we saw from Lord Curzon when he was vice-roy of India at the time of the famines. He refused to give food to the starving on the grounds that it would interfere with economic theory and make the starving dependent on charity  (the fact that dead people are not really self-sufficient didn't occur to him). Drucker should not be attacked for stating that it is not the job of a manager to foster "social responsibility" - even if you disagree with him. If he had said that it was nobody's job to foster "social responsibility", then that would be a different matter.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, February 19, 2004

Insured drivers have more accidents. Regulation reduces social responsibilty in companies.

Yanwoo
Friday, February 20, 2004

----"Insured drivers have more accidents."----

Even taking into account hit and runs?  And where do you get the statiistics on uninsured drivers from? Please provide a link to the statistics. If you're talking from the top of your head, or out of another part of your anatomy, as I suspect, post a link to a screenshot instead :)

Stephen Jones
Friday, February 20, 2004

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