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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality

Great post again. I particularly liked the bridge building analogy.    (01)

> I have been interested for many years in determining how it is that a group
> or organization can make decisions and implement policies or practices that
> none of its members would consider as individuals.    (02)

That sounds important. Any interesting findings to date?    (03)

I dipped into a book about political economy the other day. From the passage I
read it was clear that there was a conflict between what was considered the
optimal economic policy and the political constraints surrounding it. I didn't
get as far as finding out exactly what the author meant by political constraints
I've bought the book, now I just need to find time to read it.    (04)

Peter    (05)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Garold (Gary) L. Johnson" <dynalt@dynalt.com>
To: <ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org>
Sent: Saturday, September 21, 2002 12:10 AM
Subject: RE: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality    (06)

> This sort of immorality is by no means limited to corporations, capitalism,
> or any specific ideology.
> Organizations of all sorts, people in the mass, will support and go along
> with all manner of things. Some studies done of the activities of average
> citizens in support of the Third Reich are a source of wonderment.
> Beyond the herd instinct and the willingness to rely upon and follow
> authority, is what happens with any group that achieves power in some arena.
> "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" may be a cliché,
> but it is a cliché because there is so much truth in it. Those in power can
> easily come to believe that "what is good for me and my organization is good
> for the world".
> Add to that the fact that power lovers seem to be drawn to "good causes"
> which seek some sort of power, and you have a real mess. Volunteer
> organizations of all sorts can experience problems because there is usually
> no way to get rid of the really eager "volunteer" who just happens to be
> driving the organization over a cliff. You want to see petty tyrants, just
> deal with most homeowners associations to the city council of a small town.
> There are elements that we haven't begun to understand about individual
> human behavior, and far more that we do not understand about human behavior
> in groups or in organizations.
> I have been interested for many years in determining how it is that a group
> or organization can make decisions and implement policies or practices that
> none of its members would consider as individuals.
> Unless we gain some understanding of the forces that cause this and how to
> counter them, we are going to continue to have problems with humans in
> groups.
> I suspect that a lot of behavior that gets blamed on one economic model or
> ideology or another is common to groups of many sorts and is merely seen
> manifesting in the sort of group that is most common. Note that it helps to
> have a society where some freedom of expression exists - in the worst cases,
> none of these problems can be know because nobody can speak of them without
> fearsome repercussions.
> As to why democracies haven't fixed the problem, majority rule has issues of
> its own. Majorities are fairly good at representing what outcomes they might
> like to see. They are far worse at determining whether outcomes are
> achievable and if so how. I would be ok with a majority deciding that having
> a bridge across a certain river would be desirable to improve traffic flow.
> I wouldn't want that same majority to design the bridge of even to do the
> traffic flow analysis that determined what impact such a bridge might have
> or exactly where to place the bridge. Unfortunately, we often try to use the
> majority to determine answers that are of the "how" variety rather than the
> "what" variety, or best yet "here are the tradeoffs for several approaches
> in terms that make sense, which is preferable for the group?"
> Our institutions have problems often because of the purposes to which we put
> them as much as because of the way they are structured or the philosophy
> which drives them.
> Having said that, there do appear to be some philosophies and organization
> structures that nearly always produce worse results than others.
> Thanks,
> Garold (Gary) L. Johnson
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
> [mailto:owner-ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org]On Behalf Of Peter Jones
> Sent: Friday, September 20, 2002 3:21 PM
> To: ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
> Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality
> I think it was the lab coat man that put me off track.;-)
> He's an authority figure, which isn't quite the same as the herd instinct
> pattern in my view.
> > > > but then it fails to explain why 'democracies' have failed to bring
> into
> being
> > > > stricter employment laws to prevent such practices - assuming the
> majority
> do
> > > > really prevail in such societies. [...]
> > > > That it is some sort of mass habit?
> This is herd instinct, and it genuinely might be the reason why the pattern
> doesn't heal.
> On the assumption that the majority support the pattern.
> Things get darker if you assume that the majority don't favour the pattern.
> How then does it fail to heal? Then you have to start looking at the roles
> of
> authority figures and wondering about their integrity, or whether the
> political
> process just defeats things even if well intentioned folks have a
> significant
> majority.
> 'Moralität ist Heerden-Instinkt in Einzelnen.' Morality is the herd-instinct
> in
> the individual.
> Die fröhliche Wissenschaft ( (1882)) bk. 3, sect. 116
> Nietzsche.
> By a strange coincidence, I have been reading the chapter on Imperfect
> Societies
> in Plato's Republic today.
> In his ranking, democracy falls just about tyranny in the hierarchy of
> society
> types he gives - with tyranny being the worst of the five. But his argument
> seems weak in that most of what he suggests as being bad about democracy
> actually look like quite good things to me. Talk about historical
> relativism.
> And as fuel for your essays I would like to add two other things. One is a
> quote
> from Gary Alexander's eGaia
> (http://sustainability.open.ac.uk/gary/pages/egaia.htm) book, that to my
> mind
> defines capitalism above and beyond mere trade exchange.
> "Instead of being constrained and controlled by the needs of humanity,
> much less the natural world, our modern globalised monetary system has
> taken on a life of its own. Flows of money have become relatively isolated
> from physical constraints. In 1995, only 2 or 3% of money flows were to
> do with trade or investment. The rest were speculative - buying and selling
> currencies."
> --
> Peter
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Eric Armstrong" <eric.armstrong@sun.com>
> To: <ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org>
> Sent: Friday, September 20, 2002 8:59 PM
> Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality
> > The reasoning off only with respect to "intent". The majority
> > doesn't intend the consequences, but getting them seems to be
> > built into the system.
> >
> > This whole line of thought has led to an essay titled "what's
> > wrong with capitalism?" It plunged into my brain this morning.
> > I'll try to get something on paper soon.
> >
> > But the question you ask raises a corrolary issue, "what's
> > wrong with democracy?"
> >
> > (The titles are intended to be read ambiguously, as in "So
> > what's wrong with a little capitalism?" (it's a good thing)
> > in addition to "how do we fix this?".)
> >
> >
> > Peter Jones wrote:
> > >
> > > Wow. That has to be the worst piece of reasoning I've ever published.
> > > I'll try again later.
> > >
> > > "I cite having a bad headache by way of mitigation, your honour."
> > >
> > > --
> > > Peter
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: "Peter Jones" <ppj@concept67.fsnet.co.uk>
> > > To: <ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org>
> > > Sent: Friday, September 20, 2002 8:07 PM
> > > Subject: Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Re: Corporate Morality
> > >
> > > > I did intend 'corporate morality'.
> > > > Certainly the herd instinct theory does seem to explain matters in
> that
> area,
> > > > but then it fails to explain why 'democracies' have failed to bring
> into
> being
> > > > stricter employment laws to prevent such practices - assuming the
> majority
> do
> > > > really prevail in such societies. Does this mean that the majority
> actually
> > > > enjoy inflicting this sort of psychological torture?
> > > > That it is some sort of mass habit?
> > > > Scary.
> > > >
> > > > For those wondering about the background to this discussion, we were
> > > discussing
> > > > the content of www.faceintel.com
> >
>    (07)