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jerryking : competence   6

Why boring government matters
November 1, 2018 | | Financial Times | Brooke Masters.

The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, by Michael Lewis, Allen Lane, RRP£20, 219 pages.

John MacWilliams is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who becomes the risk manager for the department of energy. He regales Lewis with a horrific catalogue of all the things that can go wrong if a government takes its eye off the ball, and provides the book with its title. Asked to name the five things that worry him the most, he lists the usual risks that one would expect — accidents, the North Koreans, Iran — but adds that the “fifth risk” is “project management”.

Lewis explains that “this is the risk society runs when it falls into the habit of responding to long-term risks with short-term solutions.” In other words, America will suffer if it stops caring about the unsung but vital programmes that decontaminate billions of tonnes of nuclear waste, fund basic scientific research and gather weather data.

That trap, he makes clear with instance after instance of the Trump administration failing to heed or even meet with his heroic bureaucrats, is what America is falling into now.

We should all be frightened.
books  book_reviews  boring  bureaucracy  bureaucrats  cynicism  Department_of_Energy  government  Michael_Lewis  public_servants  risks  technocrats  unglamorous  writers  short-term_thinking  competence  sovereign-risk  civics  risk-management 
november 2018 by jerryking
Why competent city government matters - The Globe and Mail
JEFFREY SIMPSON
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Oct. 29 2014

Everywhere, “densification” of downtowns is the order of the day, which makes eminent sense, provided the increasing density is done properly from planning, lifestyle, transportation, and carbon emissions reductions perspectives (which hasn’t been the case in central Toronto’s condo-land, as one example).

Cities are on the front line of many issues that transcend their boundaries, climate change being one. Municipal governments have a host of powers – garbage, building codes, development, transit – that directly affect carbon emissions. What they do, or don’t, is consequential for the country’s overall record.

Similarly, how cities integrate newcomers to Canada affects the entire country’s civic life and economic prospects. Thus far, the melding of so many immigrants into the Canadian mainstream has been one of the country’s most significant accomplishments. It happens, overwhelmingly, in neighbourhoods, schools and other urban public places.
cities  mayoral  densification  Toronto  government  Jeffrey_Simpson  urban  urban_intensification  arrival_cities  neighbourhoods  competence  Michael_Thompson  social_integration 
october 2014 by jerryking
9/11 and the age of sovereign failure -
Sep. 10, 2011 | The Globe & Mail | Michael Ignatieff.. One
of the tasks we ask govt. to perform is to think the unthinkable. Yet on
9/11, govt. institutions failed...A sovereign is a state with a
monopoly on the means of force...It is there to think the unthinkable
and plan for it. A sovereign failed that morning.... There has been a
cascade of failure: (1) No WMDs found in Iraq; (2) The failure of the
levees & New Orleans civil authority following Hurricane Katrina;
(3) the 2008 mortgage bubble and govt. regulators; (4) the failure of
govt. regulators to catch BP before the Spring 2010 oil spill. ...While
there are a lot of things a govt. might do, there are a few things that
only a govt. can do: protect the people, rescue them when they are in
danger, regulate against catastrophic risk and safeguard the full faith
and credit of their currency. Sovereigns matter. And rebuilding their
legitimacy, their capacity and their competence is the political task
that matters most......It is always good to be skeptical about what governments tell us. But we are beyond skepticism now, into a deep and enduring cynicism. There will come a day when they are not crying wolf and we will not believe them. Then we will be in trouble. Some trust in government is a condition of democracy and security alike. That trust has been weakened and can't be rebuilt until sovereigns say what they mean, mean what they say and do what they promise.
Michael_Ignatieff  failure  government  9/11  low_probability  catastrophic_risk  priorities  unthinkable  sovereign-risk  state-as-facilitator  legitimacy  capacity  competence  oil_spills  cynicism  skepticism  policymaking 
september 2011 by jerryking
Corner Office - William D. Green of Accenture Values 3 Rules for Success
November 21, 2009 |NYTimes.com| This interview with William D.
Green, chairman and C.E.O. of Accenture, was conducted and condensed by
Adam Bryant. There are three things that matter. The 1st is competence
— just being good at what you do, whatever it is, and focusing on the
job you have, not on the job you think you want to have. The 2nd one is
confidence. People want to know what you think. So you have to have
enough desirable self-confidence to articulate a point of view. The 3rd
thing is caring. Nothing today is about one individual. This is all
about the team, and in the end, this is about giving a damn about your
customers, your company, the people around you, and recognizing that the
people around you are the ones who make you look good.
CEOs  rules_of_the_game  Accenture  self-confidence  competence  ksfs  independent_viewpoints  serving_others 
november 2009 by jerryking
Learning the path to extraordinary wisdom
Jan. 3, 2003 | First published in the Globe and Mail |By
Brian Babcock

People will gladly associate with a leader whose personal character
shows balance in at least three areas: ethics, ambition and competence.
presentations  leadership  introspection  Brian_Babcock  feedback  public_speaking  Communicating_&_Connecting  wisdom  think_threes  ethics  ambitions  competence 
april 2009 by jerryking

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