Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Sunday, May 20, 2018


Highest and best use

by Tom Sullivan

MIT Sloan School Building E62. Photo by Vitor Pamplona, via Creative Commons CC BY 2.0.

An MBA student at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management considers the self-justifying worldview initiates both bring with them and absorb. John Benjamin experiences such institutions of learning as "committed to a strict blend of social liberalism and economic conservatism." Advertised as open forums for ideas, Benjamin sees the machine language underlying the readable code as built instead on the assumption that the answers to society's problems are always more business.

The assumption is not unlike that underlying real estate development's "highest and best use" — which amounts to whatever returns the most money to the owner/investor. HBU just sound loftier and less tawdry than "makes the most money." It's like how the gig economy promotes low-paying, no-benefits jobs as flexible. Or the way "the tyranny of data-driven optimization" in tech mistakes information for knowledge, but optimization sounds cooler. Or the chiropractor who told me the ultimate purpose behind getting spinal adjustments was to make the world a better place.

Benjamin writes:

What’s striking, however, is that what counts as “progressive” here almost never crosses class lines. Not once have I heard a discussion of unions while in business school. The minimum wage isn’t a hot topic either. Our political concerns instead trend upward and toward the symbolic; equal representation is the lodestar. And where this “representing” is deemed to matter is instructive, because while it’s obvious people want to be represented at the top, our focus is on the highest of the high echelons of American business: The most commonly cited stats are those that show alarming female and minority underrepresentation among Fortune 500 CEOs and in high-paying STEM jobs. These concerns seek to redress serious wrongs and biases, but one can’t escape the sense that the metrics by which MBAs measure “progress” can become totemic: our version of wanting to see more representative Marvel superheroes while forgetting about the extras’ paychecks.

Our total ideology resembles what philosopher John Gray has coined “hyper-liberalism,” a “mixture of bourgeois careerism with virtue-signaling self-righteousness,” which lends its adherents, who mostly pick it up in the cloistered world of academia, “an illusory sense of having a leading role in society.” The personal is political, yes, but we’ve also made it the whole of politics, in large part because we keep depersonalized economic issues off the table. To patch over the problems of shareholder capitalism, we lean on cultural signifiers and hope they justify the role business leaders play in the world.

Students become like major corporations that sponsor Pride floats for employees or air heartening commercials of workers’ biracial families, then adopt practices that make those peoples’ lives more precarious. We’re the global fast food chain that makes a showy celebration of International Women’s Day, but still underpays female workers, or the firm that sponsors a “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street while, you guessed it, cheating its female employees. We’re the startups that use trendy empowerment memes to excuse, even valorize, new forms of privation and indignity for contracted workers. Identity politics, in other words, creates the ethical alibi for when businesses mistreat vulnerable people.
Ah, but the Bible says "money answereth all things," so it's all good.

The fundamental question is does the economy serve people or do people serve the economy? Business school has two answers: greater innovation or freer markets.

* * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.