Author Archives: Net economy

Once the wild is gone

BOOK REVIEW

The Long Follow, Author: David Quammen.
Conservation Refugees, Author: Mark Dowie.
Last Child in the Woods, Author: Richard Louv.
Rambunctious Garden, Author: Emma Marris.

By Bill Adams – The economic machine that consumes biodiverse habitat has its foundation in the world economy.

As that economy grows, demands made on the biosphere increase. Particularly in the rapidly industrializing countries of Asia, the standard economic growth model is having some success in helping people to escape poverty, and others to become rich.

Global consumption of raw material and energy (and production of wastes) has risen inexorably.

Poor countries pursue the model of the rich, and poor people, understandably, dream of becoming wealthy. The problem is that biodiversity shrinks before the combined onslaught of people and wealth. more> http://tinyurl.com/pj6kg8b

The Three Pillars Of A Catalytic Leader

BOOK REVIEW

The Open Organization, Author: Jim Whitehurst.
The Leadership Advantage, Authors: James Kouzes and Barry Posner.
The New Leader’s 100-Day Action Plan, Author: George Bradt.

By George Bradt – Leadership is about inspiring and enabling others to do their best together to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose. Leadership is not about the leader. It’s not even about the team. It’s about the purpose.

Whitehurst describes his onboarding into Red Hat and realizing that people weren’t going to follow his direction, even though he came in as CEO.

The core of Red Hat’s open organization was a focus on it mission: 

To be the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors, and partners creating better technology the open source way.

more> http://tinyurl.com/oblmqv2

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Updates from GE

Smart Streets Are Made of These: San Diego Deploys America’s First Intelligent Lighting System
By Tomas Kellner – The denizens of the world’s sprawling megacities all face similar daily challenges: traffic, busy sidewalks, packed puclic transportation, no available parking.

“Urbanization is coming at us like a freight train,” says Rick Freeman, global product manager for intelligent devices at GE Lighting. “The same old ways are plain going to fail. We have to get ready.”

There’s no time to spare. McKinsey & Co. reported in June that more than half of the world’s population already lives in cities and that the figure will grow to 60 percent by 2014, swelling urban areas by 1.4 billion people.

Our cities have to become intelligent if they’re going to thrive in the midst of this shift.

“Intelligent lighting” systems, for example, could help the cities in the future reduce congestion, free up parking spots, find ideal locations for new bike lanes, give the police and paramedics real-time views of parks and neighborhoods and send environmental alerts, Freeman says.

Two intelligent lighting pilots, in San Diego and Jacksonville, are already gathering data. “Having all that knowledge gives us insights we never had before,” Freeman says. more> http://tinyurl.com/p34449o

Janet Yellen is kind of like the Pope of money, and she needs a miracle

BOOK REVIEW

Secrets of the Temple, Author: William Greide.

By Matt Phillips – “The system is just like the Church … It’s got a pope, the chairman; and a college of cardinals, the governors and bank presidents; and a curia, the senior staff. The equivalent of the laity is the commercial banks. If you’re a naughty parishioner in the Catholic church you come to confession. In this system, you come to the discount window for a loan.”

But unlike the Church, where the doctrine of Papal infallibility remains on the books since it was first put there in 1870, the Fed under Yellen thankfully remains fully aware that it could make a mistake and set back a US economy that continues to make tentative progress in the aftermath of the Great Recession. more> http://tinyurl.com/ouzpo79

Pope-onomics: Francis’ keys to a better economy – and world

BOOK REVIEW

God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet, Author: Nathan Schneider.
Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse
, Author: Nathan Schneider.

By Nathan Schneider – Economics is also a big reason that many people in the United States are anxious about the pope’s visit this week.

Key economic advisers to both Francis and his predecessor, Benedict XVI, come from the school of “civil economy,” which seeks to foster not just wealth, but also vibrant, values-driven, self-governing economies. This approach has roots in the ancient Christian insistence on the priority of the common good over short-term profits and private property.

Cooperative economics has a long history in Catholic tradition. Convents and monasteries have supported themselves for centuries through such enterprise. The first credit union in the United States, St. Mary’s Bank, was founded out of a Manchester, New Hampshire, church in 1908, and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development continues to support cooperative businesses across the country. more> http://tinyurl.com/ot9zf82

‘Appalling’ Is the Right Word for the Civil Service System

BOOK REVIEW

Primer on Total Compensation in Government, Author: Howard Risher.
Work Rules! Author: Laszlo Bock.

By Howard Risher – The core issue is the philosophy and belief system that is the foundation for managing people.

It’s simplistic but there are two camps: One views employees as a cost, the other sees them as assets.

Costs are to be controlled and reduced; the assets are greatest when they are fully productive.

The civil service system is a barrier to high performance. It discourages innovation and creative ideas. more> http://tinyurl.com/oyyssrs

Updates from GE

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: This Solution to Climate Change Could Be Hiding in Your Bathroom
By Tomas Kellner – One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down climate change is to cease burning fossil fuels.

Sounds easy, but such a sudden stop would likely plunge most of today’s world into darkness and send some of the biggest and fastest growing economies off a cliff. The reality is that coal-fired power plants, the biggest emitters of CO2, are not going away anytime soon, not in the U.S. and especially not in countries like China and India which already burn half of the world’s coal and are leading builders of new plants.

That’s why scientists around the world are looking at the next best thing and developing new kinds of traps to stop carbon from escaping through the smokestack. GE’s Phil DiPietro and Bob Perry have been experimenting with a family of promising materials called amino silicones, commonly found in bathrooms and laundry rooms in hair conditioners and textile softeners.

“Although they are in the same family, I wouldn’t recommend washing your hair or your laundry with the amino silicones we’ve developed,” laughs Perry, a chemist at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, NY, who spent the last decade developing the technology. “They’re specially formulated to scrub carbon.” more> http://tinyurl.com/q3nrx9h

The Importance of Donald Trump

By Frank Rich – In the short time since Trump declared his candidacy, he has performed a public service by exposing, however crudely and at times inadvertently, the posturings of both the Republicans and the Democrats and the foolishness and obsolescence of much of the political culture they share.

He is, as many say, making a mockery of the entire political process with his bull-in-a-china-shop antics.

But the mockery in this case may be overdue, highly warranted, and ultimately a spur to reform rather than the crime against civic order that has scandalized those who see him, in the words of the former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, as “dangerous to democracy.”

Trump may be injecting American democracy with steroids. more> http://tinyurl.com/neerq7q

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Death and transfiguration

BOOK REVIEW

Decline and Fall, Author: Edward Gibbon.

Economist – The golden age of the Western corporation was the product of two benign developments: the glottalization of markets and, as a result, the reduction of costs.

The global labor force has expanded by some 1.2 billion since 1980, with the new workers largely coming from emerging economies.

Corporate-tax rates across the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, have fallen by as much as half in that period. And the price of most commodities is down in real terms.

Now a more difficult era is beginning.

More than twice as many multinationals are operating today as in 1990, making for more competition. Margins are being squeezed and the volatility of profits is growing.

The relative decline of the Western corporation could also lead to a rethinking of some of the long-standing assumptions about what makes for a successful business. more> http://tinyurl.com/qd8gbal

Does Silicon Valley’s reign herald the end of social democracy?

BOOK REVIEW

Postcapitalism, Author: Paul Mason.

By Evgeny Morozov – From its inception, social democracy was a compromise affair.

Different countries saw it arrive at different historical moments, but its essence remained the same: big business and big government eventually came to a mutually beneficial arrangement, whereby governments would not challenge the primacy of the market as the main vehicle of economic development, while companies would acquiesce to considerable regulatory oversight.

This was the famous social democratic compromise that made Europe such a comfortable place to live.

All three of these foundations are now crumbling – under the ferocious assault of both neoliberalism and Silicon Valley, the latter being all too happy to exploit the numerous inconsistencies, ambiguities and rhetorical weaknesses of the social democratic ideal. more> http://tinyurl.com/nfv6g2c