29 September 2007

"Organizations are mental entities capable of thought."

Like any self-respecting suitor for the reader's favor, we begin by making explicit our intentions. Our aim in this essay is to examine an idea that, although generally familiar, as not been developed in sufficient detail to permit its considered use in the theory of organization. This is the idea that organizations are mental entities capable of thought. In short, we wish to make what we can of the idea that organizations are minds....

[P]ragmatists ... define mind as being present wherever ideas are found within the matrix of the natural and social world. Mind is not so much a substance with intellective powers as it is a process of forming ideas.... Clearly distinguished from the concept of mind is the concept of brain.... Also to be distinguished from the concept of mind is the concept of intelligence. Intelligence is the ability to maintain a working similarity between mind and nature.
Sandelands and Stablein, The Concept of Organization Mind, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, vol. 5, pp. 135-161 (1987).

15 September 2007

We're Never Our Own Worst Critics

From the Wall Street Journal review of Alan Greenspan's new memoir:
In "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," published by Penguin Press, Mr. Greenspan criticizes both congressional Republicans and President George W. Bush for abandoning fiscal discipline.

The book is scheduled for public release Monday. The Wall Street Journal bought a copy at a bookstore in the New York area.

Mr. Greenspan, who calls himself a "lifelong libertarian Republican," writes that he advised the White House to veto some bills to curb "out-of-control" spending while the Republicans controlled Congress. He says President Bush's failure to do so "was a major mistake." Republicans in Congress, he writes, "swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose."

Many economists say the Fed, by cutting short-term interest rates to 1% in mid-2003 and keeping them there for a year, helped foster a housing bubble that is now bursting. In his book, which was largely written before much of the recent turmoil in credit markets, Mr. Greenspan defends the policy. "We wanted to shut down the possibility of corrosive deflation," he writes. "We were willing to chance that by cutting rates we might foster a bubble, an inflationary boom of some sort, which we would subsequently have to address....It was a decision done right."
I'm not a libertarian Republican (although I do have occasional intrusive libertarian impulses) and I'm copacetic with several of the big spending bills that I'm sure Mr. Greenspan opposed. Nor do I think that a bad policy becomes good because it's cheap. But I agree with Mr. Greenspan that the Republican Congress was corrupted so that it started to look exactly like a Democratic Congress. I don't know, though, that that was why the Republicans lost last year or what improvement there could be in changing a Republican Congress for a Democratic one.

But note the different ways Mr. Greenspan approaches the tough decisions he had to make, balancing benefits and costs, with his bright-line approach to criticizing Congress and the President. Politics, and life for that matter, are the art of compromise. Criticism is the assumption of perfection.

14 September 2007

My Fortune, She Is Made

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please can I have your attention for a moment? Would you
like to work online from home/temporarily and get paid weekly? Our
Company M & N Incorporation plc is a company based in Uk and we are into
Manufactures of Fabrics and Textiles with numerous customers home and
abroad. We produce various clothing materials, batiks, assorted
fabrics and traditional costume you will be glad with our produces. We
need a representative in the states who will be in charge of all our
payment from the United States clients/customers.

Because most of our customer from the states pay through certified
cheque, cashier cheques, money order and Credit cards which are not
negotiable here in UK? This brings our quest to employ a credible and trustworthy
fellow as our representative to handle our payments. This would not
affect your present job but serve as another stream of income to your
good self. Being our representative and assisting us in processing the
payments from our clients,we will pay you weekly salary and shall earn
about 10% of every payment you assist us with because due to the fact
that we cant cash the US Credit card, money order upon receipt here in
the UK immediately, in the past we have lose about 75,000 USD of net income
each month because of money transfer delays. Your task is to
coordinate payments from customers and help us with the payment
process. You are not involved in any sales. Our sales manager sells
An "A" for concept, but a "C-" for execution.

10 September 2007

We Remember

Photo courtesy Ann Althouse.

Professor Althouse says that this is a mournful glow. I have to admit that I don't see that.

04 September 2007

They Really Do Think We're Stupid

From the Des Moines Register:
God's will is for Iowa to have the first-in-the-nation caucus, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson told a crowd here Monday.

"Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord, should be the first caucus and primary," Richardson, New Mexico's governor, said at the Northwest Iowa Labor Council Picnic. "And I want you to know who was the first candidate to sign a pledge not to campaign anywhere if they got ahead of Iowa. It was Bill Richardson."

Several people in the crowd snickered after Richardson made the comment.

03 September 2007

Schism, Not Atheism

Christopher Hitchens, discussing Mother Teresa's dark night of the soul:
She tried her best to believe. Her atheism was not like mine. I can‘t believe it and I am glad to think that it is not true, that there is a dictator in the heavens. So the fact that there is no evidence for it pleases me.
Hitchens couldn't be any clearer that his atheism is not the result of firm materialism, but stems from his politics. He can't accept "a dictator in the heavens."