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robertogreco : shortterm   11

How to turn a liberal hipster into a capitalist tyrant in one evening | Comment is free | The Guardian
"And because the theatre captures data on every choice by every team, for every performance, I know we were not alone. The aggregated flowchart reveals that every audience, on every night, veers towards money and away from ethics.

Svendsen says: “Most people who were given the choice to raise wages – having cut them – did not. There is a route in the decision-tree that will only get played if people pursue a particularly ethical response, but very few people end up there. What we’ve realised is that it is not just the profit motive but also prudence, the need to survive at all costs, that pushes people in the game to go down more capitalist routes.”

In short, many people have no idea what running a business actually means in the 21st century. Yes, suppliers – from East Anglia to Shanghai – will try to break your ethical codes; but most of those giant firms’ commitment to good practice, and environmental sustainability, is real. And yes, the money is all important. But real businesses will take losses, go into debt and pay workers to stay idle in order to maintain the long-term relationships vital in a globalised economy.

Why do so many decent people, when asked to pretend they’re CEOs, become tyrants from central casting? Part of the answer is: capitalism subjects us to economic rationality. It forces us to see ourselves as cashflow generators, profit centres or interest-bearing assets. But that idea is always in conflict with something else: the non-economic priorities of human beings, and the need to sustain the environment. Though World Factory, as a play, is designed to show us the parallels between 19th-century Manchester and 21st-century China, it subtly illustrates what has changed."



"The whole purpose of this system of regulation – from above and below – is to prevent individual capitalists making short-term decisions that destroy the human and natural resources it needs to function. Capitalism is not just the selfish decisions of millions of people. It is those decisions sifted first through the all-important filter of regulation. It is, as late 20th-century social theorists understood, a mode of regulation, not just of production.

Yet it plays on us a cruel ideological trick. It looks like a spontaneous organism, to which government and regulation (and the desire of Chinese migrants to visit their families once a year) are mere irritants. In reality it needs the state to create and re-create it every day.

Banks create money because the state awards them the right to. Why does the state ram-raid the homes of small-time drug dealers, yet call in the CEOs of the banks whose employees commit multimillion-pound frauds for a stern ticking off over a tray of Waitrose sandwiches? Answer: because a company has limited liability status, created by parliament in 1855 after a political struggle.

Our fascination with market forces blinds us to the fact that capitalism – as a state of being – is a set of conditions created and maintained by states. Today it is beset by strategic problems: debt- ridden, with sub-par growth and low productivity, it cannot unleash the true potential of the info-tech revolution because it cannot imagine what to do with the millions who would lose their jobs.

The computer that runs the data system in Svendsen’s play could easily run a robotic clothes factory. That’s the paradox. But to make a third industrial revolution happen needs something no individual factory boss can execute: the re-regulation of capitalism into something better. Maybe the next theatre game about work and exploitation should model the decisions of governments, lobbyists and judges, not the hapless managers."
capitalism  economics  ethics  money  values  2015  rationality  behavior  priorities  policy  sustainability  survival  worldfactory  paulmason  latecapitalism  psychology  zoesvendsen  growth  productivity  banks  banking  government  governance  regulation  longterm  shortterm 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Perennial Design, by Wilson Miner · Issue 4 · The Manual
"The modern practice of agriculture is based on a system of annual monoculture because it’s what gets results. Because the plants have no long-term systems to support, all their energy goes toward producing grains, which means bigger harvests. By planting huge fields with only one crop, the large commercial operations, where most of our food is produced, can operate as efficiently as possible. Year over year, annual monoculture feeds the most people the most efficiently. It’s also completely, transparently, inherently unsustainable.

We can’t afford to follow the same model. We’re beginning to recognize our own monocultures as the short-lived efficiencies we extracted from them begin to unravel. The premise that we can design for a manageable number of combinations of screen sizes, platforms, contexts, and devices is quickly eroding. The diversity of variables in our ever-changing digital environment demand thoughtful systems designed around principles durable enough to outlast increasingly brief cycles of obsolescence.

When we start with the assumption that optimizing for rapid, unbounded growth is a goal, we immediately narrow the possibility space. There are only so many choices we can make that will get us there. The same choices that made annual monoculture and the shopping mall the most efficient engines for short-term growth and profit are the same qualities that made them unsustainable in the long term."

[via http://tinyletter.com/intriguingthings/letters/5-intriguing-things-43
via http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/74218411367 ]
monoculture  farming  agriculture  wendellberry  wilson  miner  sustainability  2014  growth  slow  small  diversity  environment  efficiency  obsolescence  profit  renewal  wesjackson  thelandinstitute  systemsthinking  durability  time  longterm  shortterm 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Ian Bogost - What Grows when MOOCs Grow?
"You might want to read this New York Times article about Georgia Tech's new online masters degree in computer science. The article is pretty good, reasonably balanced, and looks at the issue from (almost) all sides. Notable side missing, as usual: what students think.

Anyway, I've said enough about this whole MOOC thing, but I did want to highlight one excerpt from the NYT piece:
The three leading MOOC providers, Udacity, Coursera and edX, have grown at a remarkable rate, adding hundreds of courses with dozens of college and university partners. But the path ahead is less clear, and all three are working with universities to find ways in which their courses can be used for credit.

This is true only for certain definitions of "growth." Really, the MOOC providers have grown exclusively on the usual Silicon Valley premise of speculative, short-term bets that have little concern about long-term prospects. Certainly their revenues haven't grown much; only their reach, as they manage to convince universities to give away the "content" of courses and teaching to produce a beneficial network effect for these private technology services.

The growth of private MOOC companies is driven almost entirely from financial speculation, speculation with an interest in private, short-term gain via industrialized scale. It's worth imagining what other kinds of growth might be possible if we had the stomach for a different kind of speculation meant to benefit long-term social institutions like schools instead of just the market. There's an alternate universe in which the NYT published a story today about how strong public investment in educational programs reduced costs and increased quality without selling the farm to bankers. One in which the key measure of "growth" is related to educational practice rather than industrialization. But that's not our universe."
moocs  ianbogost  shortterm  longterm  finance  udacity  coursera  edx  2013  industrialization  speculation  mooc 
august 2013 by robertogreco
DEAR AMERICA: It's Time To Say A Big 'Thank You' To Amazon
"Amazon is investing (and hiring) while many other American corporations are milking incumbent businesses, under-investing in research and development, and hoarding cash. To the chagrin of some traders, Amazon is distinctly NOT "maximizing near-term profits" — it is sacrificing near-term profits. It is making less money now in the hopes of making more money and creating more value later. And it is ignoring the howls and screams of short-term traders who couldn't care less about Amazon's long-term prognosis, add nothing to the economy, and just want to make money now.

If more American companies started to do what Amazon does — ignore short-term pressures, sacrifice near-term profits, and invest for the long-term — the American economy would start to heal itself quickly."

[via: http://ayjay.tumblr.com/post/12030550839/amazon-is-investing-and-hiring-while-many-other ]
amazon  shortterm  longterm  investment  2011  self-interest  capitalism  business  economics  wallstreet  occupywallstreet  ows  greed  finance  self-interestproperlyunderstood 
october 2011 by robertogreco
allen.sw.huang — Steve Jobs & Taking The Long Road
"Jobs (and by extension, Apple) has taught me (and I am sure others) a big lesson: If you want to change something, you have to be patient and take the long view. If Apple and Steve’s incredible comeback teaches us something, it’s that when you are right and the world doesn’t see it that way, you just have to be patient and wait for the world to change its mind.

Today, we are living in a world that’s about taking short-term decisions: CEOs who pray to at the altar of the devil called quarterly earnings, companies that react to rivals, politicians who are only worried about the coming election cycle and leaders who are in for the near-term gain.

And then there are Steve and Apple: a leader and a company not afraid to take the long view, patiently building the way to the future envisioned for the company. Not afraid to invent the future and to be wrong. And almost always willing to do one small thing — cannibalize itself."
ommalik  2011  stevejobs  longterm  apple  business  risk  purpose  design  making  doing  self-cannibalization  shortterm  near-term  longview  vision  mistakes  patience  lcproject  tcsnmy  persistence  gamechanging  via:rushtheiceberg 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Have American Businesses Been Stranded By the MBAs? - Slashdot
"In his new book, Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business, legendary car-guy Bob Lutz says to get the U.S. economy growing again, we need to fire the MBAs & let engineers run the show. The auto industry, writes TIME's Rana Foroohar, is actually a terrific proxy for a trend toward short-term, myopically balance-sheet-driven management that has infected American business. In the first half of 20th century, industrial giants like Ford, GE, AT&T & others used new technologies to create the best possible products & services w/ idea that if you build it better, the customers will come. But by late 70s, if-you-can-measure-it-you-can-manage-it MBAs were flourishing, & engineers were relegated to the geek back rooms. 'Shoemakers should be run by shoe guys,' argues Lutz, '& software firms by software guys.' Learning that China plans to open 40 new graduate schools of business in next few years, Lutz quipped, 'That's the best news I've heard in years.'"
management  business  books  productivity  shortterm  mba  economics  bigthree  technology  progress  measurement  assessment  china  us 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Tim Harford's Adapt: Positive Black Swans: How to fund research so that it generates insanely great ideas, not pretty good ones. - By Tim Harford - Slate Magazine
"Still, after a few years, Capecchi had decided that Harvard was not for him. Despite great resources, inspiring colleagues and a supportive mentor in Watson, he found the Harvard environment demanded results in too much of a hurry. That was fine, if you wanted to take predictable steps along well-signposted pathways. But Capecchi felt that if you wanted to do great work, to change the world, you had to give yourself space to breathe. Harvard, he thought, had become "a bastion of short-term gratification." Off he went instead to the University of Utah, where a brand-new department was being set up. He had spotted, in Utah, a Galapagan island on which to develop his ideas."

"It isn't right to expect a Mario Capecchi to risk his career on a life-saving idea because the rest of us don't want to take a chance."

[Just read the whole thing.]
technology  politics  history  science  creativity  mariocapecchi  slow  slowness  shortterm  speed  competition  2011  risk  fuckitmoments  stubborness  unschooling  deschooling  society  nih  failure  risktaking  riskaversion  riskassessment  learning  experimentation 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Ivory Towers of Debt | varnelis.net
"It's a giant ponzi scheme with little of value for students and, as Harper's described in a notorious graphic about the consequeneces of overbuilding in Brandeis (Brandeis has threatened a lawsuit and has accused Harper's of slander and libel over this piece), can collapse precipitously during times of economic crisis. But while bonds were hot, Wall Street couldn't have enough of them, so universities eagerly complied."
tcsnmy  fundraising  bonds  endowment  universities  highered  money  economics  recession  priorities  shortterm  longterm  kazysvarnelis  javierarbona  cities  architecture  buildings  finance  leadership  administration 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributor - America on Deadline - NYTimes.com
"Some years ago, psychologists posed a deceptively simple question: if I were to offer you $100 right now, or $110 a week from now, which would you choose? Most subjects chose to take $100 right then. It didn’t seem worthwhile to wait an entire week for only $10 more.

[via: http://blog.longnow.org/2009/12/04/discounting-the-future/ ]
psychology  davideagleman  procrastination  afghanistan  uncertainty  certainty  future  politics  policy  barackobama  instantgratification  delayedgratification  crisis  2009  subprime  shortterm  longterm  longnow 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Can You Tell the Truth About Being Self Interested? > Trusted Advisor Associates > Trust Matters
"desire for immediate gratification is often enemy of longer-term happiness...5-year-olds were analyzed according to ability to defer gratification...lives then traced over decades...kids who chose more later were notably happier, more successful, more st
time  life  happiness  research  gratification  longterm  shortterm  delayedgratification 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing: MacroMyopia overestimating the short term and underestimating the long term
"Yesterday it was Inbox 2.0 - Email meets Social Networks. Macro-Myopia is the tendency to overestimate the short term impact of a new product or technology, and underestimate its long term implications on the marketplace, and how competitors will react."
email  sms  texting  predictions  future  shortterm  longterm  macromyopia  trends  work  youth  etiquette  communication 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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