Let me blow your mind a bit

Lately it seems a day doesn’t pass where I don’t see something which confirms the Anarchist perspective of reality. Watch the following video from TED. It’s only 20 minutes long but if you haven’t heard about his before, I guarantee it will disrupt many of the things you think you know about business.

It’s funny really. Just the other day someone decided to challenge me on my article about the Uselessness of Management and now I even have the handy proof to show their absolute disconnection from reality. I especially like this video since it points ample light in how much contemporary economics is based on ideology and assumed “axioms of human existence” rather than science.

This is an especially nice video to show to all those proponents of Copyrights and Patents who think these are somehow required to promote creativity and the arts. In fact, it should now be obvious that were copyrights to become absolute and unavoidable, creativity would be severely sniffled.

Hopefully this video should also make those who claim that “if this method was superior to rewards, it would have been selected by the market” reconsider their position on the effectiveness of the markets. Because one has to wonder; If non-reward based motivation is productively inferior, why is it still the dominant form? Unfortunately I know that most probably won’t listen, for when reality and markets clash, ideology will win hands down. But you never know, perhaps it will serve as a push in the right direction, a seed of doubt about the Capitalist system.

Some Related articles

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

27 thoughts on “Let me blow your mind a bit

  1. Negri and Hardt have made an almost identical case (with a different vocabulary of course) 9 years ago with Empire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_%28book%29) where they talk about biopolitics, networked production and the end of fordism. Nothing this guy says is new to any non-mummified marxist leftist. And it's absolutely great to see people from the other side come to very similar conclusions.

    Of course, us grumpy marxists are never happy. This is not necessarily revolutionary. In fact it's merely the new mode production.Any movement of society at large towards it is of course progressive, in the same way that the industrial revolution was a progressive thing in the time of feudal lords and kings. But emancipation, revolution and the strategic goal of a classless society cannot be lumped with it.

    See a similar article of mine from 2 years ago (in Greek): http://plagal.wordpress.com/2007/05/22/the-revolu

    1. Such arguments have been made even earlier by Alfie Kohn's No Contest but as the speaker says, it's sad how little business and "management" has heard them.

      I also know this is not revolutionary, but revolution is a process and there are many things that can lead to it, one of them can be the realization by a large amount of people that autonomous co-operation rather than hierarchical competition is far more beneficial and productive, and perhaps wonder why it's not implemented on a large scale already. This is the mindframe that will hopefully discover the true reasons behind this status quo and figure out what eventually needs to be done to fix this (ie revolution).

      And that is not to mention that switching the mode of production to something more autonomous will undermine the status quo by itself by making people ask why do they need the capitalist after all. It is the main reason in fact why such experiments in self-management are not more widespread even though they are more productive (and thus better from a market economy perspective). The reason is that it is disruptive to the system and once a critical mass of such companies exist, it may very will bring it to a crisis.

  2. Actually, distrust of "Business" as a subject area for training goes back much further than the past few decades. I remember reading (and can probably, if absolutely required to do so, find the publication information for) a magazine article decrying how useless business education was. It had quotes from then-prominent businessmen to the effect that it would be much more useful for would-be businessmen to either get a "real" education, with all that that implies in terms of actual mathematics and science and serious economics, or else just to jump in and get experience of business directly.

    That article, ladies and gentlemen, was written sometime around 1910, by G. K. Chesterton. Chesterton was a Catholic apologist, and very definitely not a Marxist, so we're not talking about some wild-eyed radical. And from the language in the article, there were probably already several well-established criticisms along the same lines from "respectable" sources.

    (It must be admitted, though, that Chesterton was a left-leaning Catholic apologist in a way which became more or less impossible shortly after he died. He was strongly anti-Nazi, very much outraged at the treatment of the Jews — which is something of a surprise, given the casual mild antisemiticism of his earlier works — and in fact died while on an anti-Nazi speaking tour at the outset of WWII. He died, as I recall, not long before the then-Pope basically threw the Catholic church in with the Nazis. Given how Chesterton's defense of the church was structured, and his willingness to stand by his own statements, I think it's a reasonably strong possibility, at least, that if he had lived another five years, he would have renounced Catholicism. But that's off-topic.)

  3. Actually this speech reinforces the fact that free markets work. Autonomy and property are the sole features of free markets. He also reinforces that capital investment (capitalism) works for mechanical processes ie production. Creativity/innovation and capital accumulation/production require different skill sets and therefore different incentives. The incentive for innovation is innovation itself. The incentive for production is interest.

    Why are Marxists on here saying that this reinforces what they already know? The State centralism of Marx completely wipes out autonomy and the progress that results. Read Benjamin Tucker. Why is it that most anarchists are so damn stupid?

    1. Autonomy and property are the sole features of free markets.

      Wrong. They are the features of libertarianism, not free markets. In fact, you can't have autonomy and liberty without having self-management and egalitarianism. Case in point: No wage worker has autonomy or liberty while working.

      As such, it's disputable on whether the (Capitalist) free markets can achieve libertarianism.

      1. a free market is the libertarian utopia. I'm sorry to have to tell you that if you are hinting at wage slavery, there is no such thing in a free market. The ability to starve or go homeless are features of the cold hard reality of the world in which we live. they are physical realities. So long as there is land to retreat to, there is no slavery. Wages are reflections of a laborers desire to experience the luxury of market exchange. With non-developed refuges being an option, anyone could opt out of wage labor to live simply off the land.

        1. The ability to starve or go homeless are features of the cold hard reality of the world in which we live. they are physical realities.

          No they are not. They are features of the current system. Case in point, people did not go homeless or starve in medieval villages. The only reason these are the only options other than wage-slavery for most people is because all the rest has been violently appropriated in the past by the capitalist class.

        2. Wages are reflections of a laborers desire to experience the luxury of market exchange. With non-developed refuges being an option, anyone could opt out of wage labor to live simply off the land.

          True, which is why such non-developed refuges were closed off once this made it obvious that wage-slaves would not be available. But wages are not a reflection of desire. They are a reflection of the state of the class struggle and how much more power the capitalists have over the workers.

    2. He also reinforces that capital investment (capitalism) works for mechanical processes ie production.

      You are a fool if you think that production is a simple mechanical process. Only the most menial tasks are like this and by "most menial" I mean stuff like sweeping a floor. Most other production requires something more than that. And that is without mentioning that most jobs have been deskilled exactly because it would reduce costs, even if it ended up hurting productivity and innovation.

      1. Of course production requires more than doing something faster or with more of this or that. But production is narrower than creation because it involves fine tuning that is not highly creative but rather skilled. Ultimately, the reason I am more of an anarchist and less of a libertarian anarchist is because the proper amounts of something need to be determined. Societies not restrained by the existence of a State can experiment with individualism, collectivism, capitalism, and mutualism. The best will win out in a process of creative destruction.

        1. The best will win out in a process of creative destruction.

          The state will not just pop-out of existence to leave the people to setup small societies and indulge in social darwinism among them. The way the state is going to be abolished is going to determine what kind of society will replace it. As such, no such creative destruction is likely to take place unless the Free Marketeers can figure out a way to topple the state in the first place.

          1. The State will be toppeled when people stop believing that the State is in their interest. So long as the State class remains a minority and it's enforcement agencies remain composed of civilians (both are economic limitations on the State in the first place). I believe you would agree that education is the key. It is not until people realize the fact that they are in chains that they seek to remove them. People need knowledge in order to harness their rationality. There may be some need for violence, but I don't think it would be apocalyptic. But more likely it would be a collectivist coordination game which because of shared interests would be rational.

          2. If it was so easy, then the state would have been toppled long ago, form the time of the feudal lords. But it's not that simple. Not only will people not be convinced by simple rhetoric, not only can they see through the lack of consistent arguments from the Austrians but mere conviction is not enough unless it's followed by action. Your claim that "the state will be toppled" just like that shows a profound lack of historical knowledge and a need to apologize for your inaction.

    3. The incentive for innovation is innovation itself.

      Which the markets can't account for as they can only provide material rewards.

      1. It appears you haven't read the Austrians. All market processes originate from the incentive to achieve the highest psychic profit (maximize utility). It only has to do with material rewards when that is what motivates someone.

        1. I've read the Austrians and I have rejected them as the most unashamed apologetics of capitalism and as wrong as most of their neoclassical cousins.

          All market processes originate from the incentive to achieve the highest psychic profit (maximize utility).

          All distribution systems originate from this incentive, not just markets. Nor are markets the most efficient at achieving this result.

          1. In regards to the Austrians, with some I can see your point ie Hoppe or Block. Some of the rhetoric can be bad and come off as apologetics; however, if a physicist talks about gravity, he is not apologizing for it, he is merely pointing out that it exists. The Austrians readily acknowledge the importance of nonmaterial exchange in the form of services and morality and social norms.

            Exactly, therefore all human organizations are markets. This may merely turn into a semantic debate, but you would be wise to understand what people are actually talking about before you criticize them.

          2. Please do not compare the Austrians to Physicists. It's insulting to Physics.

            The problem is exactly what you mentioned, that the Austrians see everything as a market exchange and thus create unnecessary confusion, not to mention reaching the wrong conclusions.

        2. It only has to do with material rewards when that is what motivates someone.

          Markets are only about material rewards. This is the only incentive they recognise. If this is not an incentive for someone (as in the case of innovation) then market fail to promote it and as such it falls into disutility.

          This is the reason why otherwise creative people squander their creativity in menial jobs while those who are fortunate enough to have creative jobs are inefficient due to the wrong rewards.

      2. actually i have to rephrase this: for SOME PEOPLE innovation is in itself its own reward and for SOME PEOPLE the cash incentive is the reward. Only through the market can the appropriate incentives match up with those who will be incentivized by them.

        1. False. We've already seen that the cash incentive is not a good inventive as the innate creativity itself. As the markets can only provide cash incentives, it's impossible that they will be able to match it correctly. Not to mention wishful thinking.

    4. Why are Marxists on here saying that this reinforces what they already know? The State centralism of Marx completely wipes out autonomy and the progress that results. Read Benjamin Tucker. Why is it that most anarchists are so damn stupid?

      Why do you assume I'm a marxist? Why do you assume I'm for state centralism? In short, why are you so damn stupid?

      1. i didn't assume you are a marxist. commenters below said they were marxist. I think you are a guy/person (?) who knows (at least to a degree) what he is talking about. I have a minor in management and a major in economics from UC Irvine. everything I learned there was completely useless, contrived bullshit. Management is bullshit. It has a purpose in some processes, but as a science it is bullshit. I would say that in most cases management is a result of State intervention rather than efforts at improving efficiency. One need not work too long in any conventional workplace to discover the worthlessness of management.
        There's a short paragraph here where I discuss how regulation causes management to become wealthier at the expense of productivity and everyone else:
        http://weighingalternatives.blogspot.com/2009/09/

        1. You are very right in that management is bullshit but it's not the result of state intervention as "scientific management" and consequent MBAs and the rest of the nonsense started from the private sector and was picked up as a way for the rich to keep being rich. I've written about this here

Comments are closed.