On management and control

The I of the basic word I-Thou is different from that of the basic word I-It. Martin Buber, I and Thou (1923) In this week’s essay, I want to discuss the concept of management: not just the management of a company or other organisation, but the notion of control in general. We really, really likeContinue reading “On management and control”

On economic growth

Yes! There will be growth in the spring! Chance, the gardener in the film Being There (1979) It is a truth universally acknowledged that economic growth is a good thing. Well, not quite universally, but it’s the view you’ll find in the mainstream media and on the lips of pretty much every politician and pundit.Continue reading “On economic growth”

On resilience

When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade. Anon. After last week’s discussion of efficiency, it’s time to talk about its complement: resilience, literally the quality of springing back, like a rubber ball. It’s a broader and vaguer concept, with none of the satisfyingly crisp arithmetic we can bring to bear on efficiency, but IContinue reading “On resilience”

On time, its uses and abuses

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Only the Maya can claim to have been half as obsessed with time as our industrial civilisation is, and even they only went as far as devising a calendar so accurate it is said to be used by NASA. (ThisContinue reading “On time, its uses and abuses”

On quantification

Counting is the religion of this generation. It is its hope and its salvation. Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography Industrial civilisation is in love with numbers. We have numbers on pretty much everything that can be quantified, and some things that arguably can’t. When someone wishes to assert incontrovertibly that X is the case, the magicContinue reading “On quantification”

On quantification

Counting is the religion of this generation. It is its hope and its salvation. Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography Industrial civilisation is in love with numbers. We have numbers on pretty much everything that can be quantified, and some things that arguably can’t. When someone wishes to assert incontrovertibly that X is the case, the magicContinue reading “On quantification”