Kent Pitman

Kent Pitman
Location
New England, USA
Title
Philosopher, Technologist, Writer
Bio
I've been using the net in various roles—technical, social, and political—for the last 30 years. I'm disappointed that most forums don't pay for good writing and I'm ever in search of forums that do. (I've not seen any Tippem money, that's for sure.) And I worry some that our posting here for free could one day put paid writers in Closed Salon out of work. See my personal home page for more about me.

MY RECENT POSTS

JANUARY 23, 2012 9:02AM

Losing the War in a Quiet Room

Rate: 31 Flag

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement has seemed to tap into a deep-rooted sense discontent in the American populace over how capitalism has gone wrong. Criticism has not come just from the Left, but also from the right, as recently discussed on the excellent new MSNBC show Up with Chris Hayes:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The discussion begins with a quote from Newt Gingrich asking “Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money, or is that somehow a little bit of a flawed system?” To which Chris Hayes cheerfully responds, “Well, yes, Newt it is.” The discussion that follows is typical of the many thoughtful exchanges that make this show such an absolute “must watch.”

Early in the discussion, Prof. Anne-Marie Slaughter of Princeton University, asks “What’s the opposite of ‘predatory capitalism’?” and chuckles about whether that means a kind of “kinder, gentler capitalism.” Alexis McGill Johnson of the American Values Institute frames the issue as a sort of nostalgia for something lost, and David Roberts of Grist opines that “democratic nostalgia is for a set of laws and regulations that used to restrain capitalism; the republican nostalgia seems to be for nicer corporate titans, to an era of public-spirited rich people.” Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights, questions whether the system has adequate benefit for workers, noting that the only thing workers get out of capitalism is jobs, but they don’t get economic benefits or any control of the direction companies take.

It all begs the question: What changed?

My immediate thought on that question came from having listened to the book The Betrayal of American Prosperity by Clyde Prestowitz. In the book, Prestowitz offers the following account that struck me as simply extraordinary:

Excerpt from pages 198-199 of
The Betrayal of American Prosperity by Clyde Prestowitz

THE HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL CREED

At the founding of Harvard Business School in 1908, Dean Edwin Gay said the purpose of the school was to teach business leaders how to “make a decent profit by doing decent business.” That was McCabe’s creed and what thousands of future business leaders learned at Harvard for many years. But in 1970, the University of Chicago’s Milton Friedman sounded a different note. Said he, “Few trends could so much undermine our free society as the acceptance by corporate executives of social responsibility other than to make as much money for shareholders as possible.” This tune was quickly picked up and elaborated by Harvard’s professors and especially by Michael Jensen, who became the dominant American voice on corporate architecture and the proper role of a board of directors and a CEO.

In a hugely influential 1976 paper and subsequently, Jensen propagated Friedman’s doctrine of shareholder sovereignty and of increased returns to shareholders as the sole purpose of the CEO. His argument was grounded in the view that the shareholder is the corporation’s final risk bearer and therefore also its final claimant. He added the notion that, as agents of shareholders, the corporation’s managers do not necessarily share the interests of the shareholders. Indeed, the managers and the shareholders may be at war because the way for the CEO to maximize his/her private gain may be at odds with maximizing shareholder gains. For instance, a CEO may like corporate jets or want to be part of the society scene, but the costs of such indulgence may be a burden to shareholders. Thus, the central problem is how to align the interests of managers and shareholders and to establish a monitoring mechanism that easily indicates whether the managers are acting properly on behalf of shareholders.

Jensen’s solution was to grant gobs of stock options to CEOs to evaluate their job performance by focusing on the progression of quarterly earnings. This is a single, readily available, objective number upon which a CEO can concentrate all her attention and which the shareholder can readily use to determine whether a CEO is working for him. Jensen emphatically rejected stakeholder theories on the grounds that giving a CEO multiple objectives would be confusing, distracting, and make it impossible in the end to measure performance.

In effect, Prestowitz is noting that this is a recurrence of the old joke

“If you dropped your keys over there,
   why are you looking here?”

“Because the light is better here.”

If I’m hearing him right, Prestowitz is making the bold claim that the reason we stopped caring about people other than shareholders was it was just too messy to do the accounting of worrying about other stakeholders, such as employees, customers, and community. It was administratively simpler and cleaner to only worry about stockholders, and so one day business just quietly decided to do that instead.

Or that was the stated rationale, anyway. Let’s not overlook the outside chance that those pushing for this change fancied themselves the potential later recipients of “gobs of stock options” as CEO of some company operating under the newly proposed rules. No point in mentioning that rationale out loud during the debate when they could stick to the altruistic-sounding story of how this focus on clarity of measurement would just be good for business. “Let's give them gobs of stock” sounds so much more business-like and less self-indulgent than “Let's give ourselves gobs of stock.”

Imagine if we took that “clarity” approach toward our justice system, saying it was too hard to measure justice so why not just measure, let’s say, cost? That wouldn’t fix old-fashioned Justice but it would create a form of NeoJustice that was so much easier to measure, allowing us to be sure we were being successful at it. But to what end?

Really that’s what happened, too. Not with criminal justice but with economic justice. We just let it go, without even knowing it. Without any real notice to or approval by the large community of American citizens affected by the change, American Business just quite literally stopped caring. It’s pretty obvious, at least to me, that this timeline Prestowitz mentions dovetails precisely with the downfall of American society so evident all around us.

A war was fought in a “quiet room” somewhere, without anyone firing a shot, and we’re now living in the aftermath of our unwitting capitulation. No wonder we’re confused about how we got here.


If you got value from this post, please "rate" it.

Possible Follow-up Actions

Putting things to right could begin by undoing the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United, and eliminating from the law any notion of corporate personhood. Senator Bernie Sanders is pushing for a Constitutional amendment doing so. You can sign his petition supporting this amendment.

Another concrete action is to learn about stakeholder theory and start to ask questions about why it’s there and whether we could change it. It was changed before, and it seems to me it could change again. I don’t know the process by which that would happen. But I think it needs to.

Further Reading

The Betrayal of American Prosperity by Clyde Prestowitz covers additional issues, particularly those of US trade policy, in addition to the matters I’ve discussed here. In some ways, this was just a peripheral aspect of his main point. But it’s an excellent book either way and I very much recommend it. I listened to it as an audiobook from audible.com.

A basic overview of some of these issues can be obtained from Wikipedia articles titled “Stakeholder (corporate)” and “stakeholder theory.”

I also highly recommend Naomi Klein’s excellent book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, in which Milton Friedman and the Chicago School (a.k.a. the “Chicago Boys”) play a critical role. I listened to it as an audiobook from audible.com.

And, finally, my other articles Fiduciary Duty vs. The Three Laws of Robotics and Sociopaths by Proxy may also shed some additional light in why this all matters.

Your tags:

TIP:

Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:

Comments

Type your comment below:
What a brilliant summary and analysis this is. Thanks! .
I have been doing extensive reading Kent. I got Naomi Klein's book on my shelf waiting too.
I am beginning to think most are suffering from fatigue. War on so many fronts. And not enough soldiers to fight with.
But glad to see this post. You add fuel to my fire today.
Excellent article, Kent. I sent you a PM. Good stuff.
Excellent post, Kent and enormously helpful to me. I will sign Bernie Sanders's petition and read (rather than listen to) both the Prestowitz book and Naomi Klein's. On a rueful (personal and trivial) note: Thanks for citing the joke about the person looking for his/her keys. Sounds to me like a first-rate succinct summary of "everything I do wrong". I'm going to have to "update" my New Years Resolutions. :-o

R
I enjoyed your analysis immensely. While I believe that undoing the legal fiction of "corporate personhood" and reigning in shareholders and their avarice through tax disincentives would be helpful incremental steps, unless we end the other legal fiction of "employment at will" and develop effective mechanisms to empower employees and enable them to become at least as important as shareholders.

What if corporations were required to have a fiduciary duty to their employees? What if, by changes in the tax code, domestic corporations were given significant credits for employing workers in the U.S. and penalized for out-sourcing and investing abroad.

Also, since there is little evidence that "free trade" has improved the standard of living for a vast majority of Americans - even while it has given them an excess of low-cost, foreign made consumer goods - is it time to begin a discussion about whether tariffs ought to be reconsidered? Why is the U.S. one of the few countries that has refused to craft an industrial policy?

Unfortunately, the structural impediments to reform in our political system are so overwhelming, I remain a pessimist.
This is amazing - I will share to FB and also sign the petition. Thanks for finding and writing about this subject. I have been wondering why things ended up this way - it didn't used to be like this. But the more people become aware, maybe it's not too late to change!
I don't know how to change this either, but you're right - it needs to be done. Thank you for presenting this issue so clearly and giving me a place to start in signing that petition.
Great post Kent! Unfortunately like me, you are preaching to the choir here on OS. You know it's true, I know it's true. However the average voting boob, is totally unaware. They just believe what the ads tell them on TV. We have been bombarded down here in Florida. " It's the Media", its "Obama", it's " those damned libbrals". These morons really believe that the 1% should have all they want, and more. It's the "American Way", don't you know. It's also all about social conservatism here in the South. The tougher you are on those damned Black welfare cheats. The damned queers trying to shove their lifestyle down our throats, and those baby murderers out there! It's all about smaller government in business, and bigger government in the morals squad!
Anyone who thinks corporate capitalism hasn't gone off the deep end is blind, nuts, or a corporate capitalist (see Mitt Romney). And no one should plead ignorance; this was all predictable, and predicted.

For proof of that, read The Reckoning by David Halberstam for an expose of financialization, or In Search of Excess by Graef Crystal for an expose of executive compensation, or listen to the Jensen Speech from the film Network for an expose of multi-national corporate capitalism. All these prophesies came out in 1977, that's right, 1977.

Where are the true Conservatives who understood with Hobbes and Adam Smith that the true purpose of government, and in Smith's case capitalism, was to serve the Commonweal?

As for this "the republican nostalgia seems to be for nicer corporate titans, to an era of public-spirited rich people.” This is nothing but a rehash of the old, old, idea of noblesse oblige. It didn't work well then, and it works even worse now. The kings of old did just enough for their people to keep from losing their heads -- and sometimes not even that little.

Yes, the Carnegies, Vanderbilts and other robber barons tried to assuage their guilt with public works, but should they really be praised and given free reign simply for giving back a little of what they stole from their workers? Hell, the Koch Bros pride themselves on their philanthropy, and drug lords give back to their communities, too.

As for Milton Friedman, what has his tortured logic and "gobs of stock options" wrought? Gobs of speculation and Enronian accounting in order to pump up the next quarters' stock prices. And that has wrought the Great Depression II that is lurking in the shadows.

Friedman is the Anti-Christ -- or at least the Anti-Christian. His failed philosophy underpins the perversion of Jesus' teachings called the Prosperity Gospel, a despicable diversion that is nothing short of heresy. Yet, millions of "evangelicals" swallow the self-serving swill that "God wants you to be rich" as if it was the New Ten Commandments.

It's the ultimate corruption of the Protestant Work Ethic. Or as I put it in one of my posts, this perverted, dehumanizing and enslaving capitalism is akin to the diabolically ironic sign above the entrance to Auschwitz: Arbeit Macht Frei.
hOw R tHoSE oCCUpiE deMOnStrATioNs woRKiNg oUT?
[r] love Chris Hayes show. If only more of them were as earnest and honest. That's why it is on at inconvenient weekend hours I am guessing. the price of freedom is eternal vigilance Jefferson warned and we dropped the ball. evil loves cronyism, and more and more the group of cronies commits horrors against those innocent and unaware, like a gang rape where the "lower selves" of those who on their own would never "go there" do. There is a war in a quiet room. There is also a war not in a quiet room, and all of us numbed out to evil and evil kept progressing. the 1 percenters have begun to treat the 99%ers in the US with the same throwaway kleenex contempt they have obviously though we all minimized it for too long, the EVIL EVIL EVIL they have treated the rest of the world with, using America's young to murder for them for profit. The wake up call is long in coming, and the evil is really saturated. You can count the number of Congress people, both houses, on one hand with fingers left over who still have a shred of honor and integrity. WE ARE A CAPTURED NATION by the greedy, sociopathic power addicts but we have some redemption to work on ourselves. We are victims, but we are also guilty of not being there for the rest of the world and those in this country who have been desperately and economically and socially and psychologically lost for so long and now more and more of us are joining the desperate ranks. And now we are not even showing up for ourselves. Those still in denial and backing the Dem party still don't begin to get it. Evil. Scott Peck says evil is laziness to the nth degree. I see Obamacare as evidence of that laziness. Let's not take care of everyone, that is too much work to pass even though we used to talk about life, liberty and happiness FOR ALL. The media won't hound us with responsibility, who gives a shit about those below us, just like the oligarchs don't give a crap about those below them. Re with the parties, let's only talk about the middle class in both parties when we are campaigning even though once both legacy parties get their power, they won't even help the middle class any more. And now, is there really commitment to fight by the 99 percenters, or will they watch the youngsters push but remain watchers and continue to doom us all. Will the laziness as evil win even further, despite our growing awareness of the heart of darkness of our government. Awareness to acceptance to action. We need to go through those three stages and act. best, libby
Jonathan, that's kind of you to say. Glad you liked it.

Mission, I find audiobooks to be much easier on me than paper reading. Both Prestowitz's and Klein's books are available that way and are excellent listens. And audible.com has a trial membership where the first book is free. :)

Froggy, thanks. Will check my PM.

Marte, glad I could help you find useful insight into your daily life.

Paul, it sounds like you've not read my Fiduciary Duty vs. the Three Laws of Robotics. I think that one will be helpful to you. There are also some sequels, one of which I mentioned above.

CC, yes, I'm ever-hopeful there's some opportunity to change.

Barb, glad you enjoyed it. Happy to help.
Thanks for your thoughts, Kent. So much here and yet ... one image most holds me ...

Quiet rooms. I so believe in ... quiet rooms ...
in quiet thought ... and reflection ... and quiet time ...
to hear our own thoughts ...
to hear ourselves ... and remember what we believe in ...
who we are ... and what matters most ...

Quiet rooms ... may we remember the importance of quiet ... space and time and all they may allow ... in helping ... those who care ... in winning ... peace ... we seek ...

Quiet rooms ... and thoughtfulness ... may somehow we find time ... for these ...
Excellent write-up, Kent. My main disappointment here?

That I was completely unaware of the petition. I must pay more attention in class. :-D

Rated, with thanks.
Anna, I agree with you that quiet rooms are in general good. The particular reference to quiet rooms here calls to something Mitt Romney recently said where he was trying to ask that certain kinds of political criticism not be done on the public stage but be done more privately. The reference is hyperlinked in the article. Click here to read an article on Romney's quote. In that particular case, I think he's quite wrong, and that painful and contentious as it sometimes (even often) is, matters of political importance need to happen out in the open for all to see and participate.
Kenny, I've been calling that the politics of Jedi mind tricks. Yeah, it's an issue.

Tom, hi, thanks for your thoughts. I was a big fan of Halberstam's stuff, having seen him interviewed on Charlie Rose on CBS late night more than once years ago. Very interesting guy. And Chris Hayes is someone I lately find myself comparing to an up-and-coming version of Charlie Rose, asking really thoughtful questions (though at higher speed, admittedly) and still interested in the full answer. Both have benefited by not being in the mainstream view either because of timeslot or channel placement, but it has let them ask the questions they really wanted to ask, etc.

Libby, thanks for visiting. I don't myself find it productive to refer to a whole group, whether it's the democrats or republicans, as evil. I prefer to focus on the structural aspects of what they do or how they're running things at any given moment. I'd like to think those things can be repaired.

Bill, glad I could raise consciousness about the petition. Thanks for dropping in.
I saw Romney's words in your link, Kent, and they made me need to come away from him and back to myself ... to what holds me ... to what I wish would once more hold us all ... quiet time ... to remember ... if we've ever given thought ... to ... who we are ... wherever we are ... and to what ... it is ... we really ... need ... really need ... when warmth of heart ... may be all the warmth ... we know ...

I appreciate your thoughts here and the reference to Chris and his willingness to try and wake us up.
kent, when cronyism reaches a tipping point it deserves calling out imho, whether Dems as a group or Repubs as a group. Ya think the "Good Germans" got too negative a rap? I think they deserved more of one. Sorry I held forth so emotionally on your turf but I gotta say, I am seeing bubbles of denial, and a lot of supercilious, intelligent-sounding people who are still within a bubble, justifying the bubble-world, their bubble world, I am sadly discovering. libby
libby, I think the question of whether people are in denial is something you do on your own thread. Here it comes perilously close to sounding like you're telling other people you're conversing with that they are not entitled to their opinions. I think it's a valid discussion to have, but it's not the kind of discussion that I personally want to have. I want people to feel safe they can venture opinions here but only up to the point that they aren't making someone else feel like they shouldn't venture their own. There's plenty of useful content in what you wrote, so I'm not asking you to go away. Just keep it on the straight and narrow of what you think works, and I think we'll learn something. Thanks!
I got my B.A. and MBA during the 70s Kent and had a couple of Friedman disciples along the way. Focusing on the primary obligation as owing to the shareholders was just another application of the free market system. Per the theory, social goods should be left to charities or governments, though the free-marketers tended to tempermental antipathy towards the latter. But the enhanced focus on profits and share price do explain some of the recent societal deterioration. Nonetheless, some corporations make pretty big investments in socially worthy projects.
Abrawang, it's not the need of corporations to invest in socially worthy projects that concerns me. It's their willingness to invest in things that are clearly not socially worthy on a theory that pursuit of profit will somehow make that OK. So the idea that you can eek out a slight profit by laying off workers in country A to hire them in country B that seems wrong-headed. (In most cases that affect me, country A is obviously the US, though this same theory is applied in other countries and my real point is that this kind of profit-making in any country is not really socially conscious wherever it is practiced. Companies may profit by this means, but they profit at the expense of the community in which they discard workers, in effect taking the difficulty paying bills by those workers, the retraining and relocation costs of those workers, etc. as a freebie for the company doing the layoffs—an externality. Sure, in the US one can say unemployment insurance is funded by the companies, but that's not the same as saying the cost of the effect is funded by those companies. It's pushed back on the government and onto the populace if the practice of layoffs is so rampant that people are unemployed longer than the expected amount with no repurcussions to the companies. If the practice had instead lead to a huge spike in unemployment costs to cover the fact that people were out of work longer, even permanently, maybe companies would self-regulate on this practice, but since they can push the cost off onto others, they greedily continue the practice. Just another way Big Business privatizes gains and socializes losses, even if not one that is spoken about that way in the public dialog.
"But in 1970, the University of Chicago’s Milton Friedman sounded a different note. Said he, 'Few trends could so much undermine our free society as the acceptance by corporate executives of social responsibility other than to make as much money for shareholders as possible.'”
---------------------

I don't know where the idea came from that corporations have no social responsibility and are responsible only to investors.

In his dissent on Citizens United v. FEC, Justice Stevens discusses the original purpose of corporations:

"Those few corporations that existed at the founding were authorized by grant of a special legislative charter. Corporate sponsors would petition the legislature, and the legislature, if amenable, would issue a charter that specified the corporation’s powers and purposes and 'authoritatively fixed the scope and content of corporate organization,' including 'the internal structure of the corporation.' Corporations were created, supervised, and conceptualized as quasi-public entities, 'designed to serve a social function for the state.' It was 'assumed that (they) were legally privileged organizations that had to be closely scrutinized by the legislature because their purposes had to be made consistent with public welfare.' . . . The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare. . . . Unlike other interest groups, business corporations have been 'effectively delegated responsibility for ensuring society’s economic welfare'; they inescapably structure the life of every citizen."
[footnotes and references have been omitted for the sake of readability]

The idea that corporations have no obligation to serve the public good is completely contrary to the thinking that made it possible for them to exist in the first place.
Mishima, thanks for the interesting quote. Then again, the days he's talking about were long ago and who really cares about the original intent of the framers anyway? :)
I agree with Jonathan, brilliant position paper.
rated with love
"Nicer corporate titans..." I love it. It occurs to me that we didn't call them robber barons for nothing. I find that wishful thinking has pervaded political ideology particularly on the right, with a sense of entitlement toward a nostalgia for a period that never existed. Sure, there were moments in post-World War II capitalism during which management seemed to care more about their American workers, but that was because the rest of the worldwide labor pool was devastated. As soon as things could be "made in Japan," they were. At the dawn of the 20th Century we entered a "progressive" phase for real reasons, e.g. the rise and semi-dominance of monopolistic capitalism that cared little or not at all for its pre-union workforce. And life on the farm? They didn't even have electricity and hardly had machinery until Roosevelt and the post-War manufacturing boom.

All of this, all of it, comprises escapist fantasies on the part of a populace that has run out of dead ends in the desperate search for a new way to get to the head of the (middle) class.
Poetess, thanks for visiting and your kind support.

Steve, you make some good points. Thanks for taking the time to stop in to read and offer commentary.
Very nice. I don't have much to say, except that if economic markets are amoral (among others, Paul Krugman has argued this, roughly speaking), then it's not unreasonable to expect that successful agents in the market may also be amoral. We cross an interesting dividing line when we call market agents, such as corporations, persons.
“Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money, or is that somehow a little bit of a flawed system?”
--newt gingrich

"Crony capitalism, where people pay each other off at the expense of the rest of the country, is not free enterprise," Gingrich said. And raising questions about that is not wrong."
--newt gingrich

"Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?"
--matt lauer

"I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms..."
--mitt romney

"The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid dens of crime that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern. "
--cs lewis

gamechanger-- occupying republicans
Rob, indeed, I've heard it argued that both business and political leaders are disproportionately sociopaths. It's concerning, and is all the more reason why relying on the Constitution and not on individual leaders to keep us free is important. Good reasons to be watchful of legislation like the Patriot Act, SOPA, and whatnot that chip away at our protections.
vzn, an interesting set of quotes. The quiet room quote is the one that the title of this article comes from, and is linked from here, but it's fine of you to make it explicit. The CS Lewis quote was especially apt. And thanks for the cross-link to your list of links on related topics. I'm sure some people will find interesting reading there.
Nicely done! "The goal to make as much money for shareholders as possible is silly and plain dangerous (as we have seen three years ago).
Kanuk, Greenspan admitted as part of that fiasco that it hadn't occurred to him that the interests of CEOs were in fact not necessarily aligned with their companies. This was obvious to outsiders like me but apparently if you're down and dirty in the biz it's not. Corporate leaders “cash out” all the time and get to keep their spoils no matter how badly they've left their organizations. I don't know why this wasn't completely obvious.
Sorry I got here so late, but I finally got your message.

What Newt Gingrich said was not only in response to his competition with Mitt Romney, but with Occupy Wall Street. Both the Tea Party and OWS know that the system is rigged against the little guy for the benefit of the 1%.

More than that, there's the realization within the highest ranks of the business and financial worlds that what Marx said about the dangers of the overc0ncentration of capital is still true. Coupled with the natural tendencies of business and money to gravitate towards financialization instead of productive enterprises at the late stages of empire, there is a growing awareness that the system (both economically and politically) is rapidly losing its legitimacy. More and more people are beginning to be aware that the empire is wearing no clothes.

Obviously, the differences about how to rejigger the system towards a more vibrant and productive one are there. While I agree very much with Mr. Prestowitz on his diagnoses of what ails the patient, we have very different views as to what the best medicine. I personally feel that Prestowtiz's diagnosis in The Betrayal of American Prosperity most benefit the multinationals and financial elites.

All of this is good news. It thus becomes more likely that a give and take in the political process in Washington will eventually come to some "middle ground" set of policies to deal with this. However, all of this will be complicated by the trump card of the threat to humanity from global warming.

I see in a very short period of time, it will be necessary for many nations to band together to implement the most dramatic government control of economies since WW II to fight out of control climate changes. And if that happens, solutions may be closer to what I'd like to see, which would be a truly mixed semi-socialist economy not unlike those in Scandanavia. But that would mean much more drastic and dramatic moves (like shutting down all coal plants and coal fired generators and nationalizing oil companies).
It keeps getting worse...
Putting Integrity into Finance: A Purely Positive Approach
Werner Erhard
Michael C. Jensen
"... As a young scholar, Michael lived through the days of the revolution in finance in the 1960s and 1970s when the modern approaches to finance were coming into vogue. Consistent with Kuhn’s (1996) Structure of Scientific Revolutions, the established profession, and the established journals, systematically rejected such new thinking. But change did occur and we are committed to see such change continue to happen in the finance of today."
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1985594
Janus, thanks for the pointer. I have bookmarked it to read when I have a little time.
There was an interesting article yesterday by Jia Lynn Yang in the Washington Post that tells a storyconsistent with mine here but from a quite different perspective: Maximizing shareholder value: The goal that changed corporate America.