Here's a photo taken a while ago that never made it into a post. It's an advert I saw on a bus shelter. It isn't the clearest photo in the world, but it tells a story. The story it tells is very clearly expressed by the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman. It shows that in our society, … Continue reading Make your own rules
Guest post coming up
Dan, Thanks for your interesting message. I'd certainly like to make a 'guest post' of it. It fits very well with the next piece coming up here on the London riots - but of course you say things that hadn't even occurred to me. For example the whole idea of a market place of ideas … Continue reading Guest post coming up
Excommunicating Women priests
Just about to write something about the recent restatement of the Catholic Church's opposition to the ordination of women - I realised, effectively, I already had. Add only this: it's not actually very easy to be excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. Few people have ever met anyone who has been (militant atheists have been … Continue reading Excommunicating Women priests
Fortify your group with religious belief! Homing in on the God Gene
“Groups fortified by religious belief would have prevailed over those that lacked it, and genes that prompted the mind toward ritual would eventually have become universal.” An article in the New York Times, In Search of the God Gene, flies a kite for religion as an evolutionary benefit. But it takes a very particular view … Continue reading Fortify your group with religious belief! Homing in on the God Gene
The decline and fall of declining and falling
Edward Gibbon made a famous claim in chapter 3 of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire that “If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name … Continue reading The decline and fall of declining and falling
Accountability is the problem, now what’s the solution?
Individualist social organisation operates on the assumption that accountability structures and measures are the problem, not the solution. They act as a brake on the forward momentum of heroic risk. Who dares wins. The only accountability required is clearly success or failure in the market. Accountability is an obstacle to success that needs to be … Continue reading Accountability is the problem, now what’s the solution?
East meets West: are there just two cultures?
New Scientist has an article by Ed Yong on the dichotomy between eastern and western thought. But there are more than two alternatives (western/individualist/analytic vs eastern/collective/holistic)... Grid-group cultural theory, developed by anthropologist Mary Douglas and others, suggests there are four universal cultural biases, Individualist, Hierachist, Egalitarian and Fatalist. Researchers using this methodology have conducted numerous … Continue reading East meets West: are there just two cultures?
Climate Disruption as policy: wisdom or folly?
Could it be in China's interests to ignore climate chance? According to the Danish 'skeptical environmentalist' Bjorn Lomborg: “Climate models show that for at least the rest of this century, China will actually benefit from global warming. Warmer temperatures will boost agricultural production and improve health. The number of lives lost in heatwaves will increase, … Continue reading Climate Disruption as policy: wisdom or folly?
How to avoid nasty surprises
The company had a "uniquely entrepreneurial culture" that made it a paragon of business success. According to management guru Gary Hamel, it was ‘leading the revolution’. Unfortunately the company in question was rotten to the core and ultimately became one of the most notorious business failures of the decade. The company, of course, was Enron. … Continue reading How to avoid nasty surprises
A mutual alternative to markets and hierarchies
The trouble with a bi-polar view of the world is that there only ever seem to be two rival ways of doing anything. The choices are strictly limited. In the midst of the financial crisis, the pendulum has swung from the private sector ownership of banks to public sector ownership, as though these were the … Continue reading A mutual alternative to markets and hierarchies