dimanche 4 juillet 2010

Anarchy as an Organizing Principle

Anarchy as an Organizing Principle

The recent spate of accounting fraud scandals signals the end of an era. Disillusionment and disenchantment with American capitalism may yet lead to a tectonic ideological shift from laissez faire and self regulation to state intervention and regulation. This would be the reversal of a trend dating back to Thatcher in Britain and Reagan in the USA. It would also cast some fundamental - and way more ancient - tenets of free-marketry in grave doubt.

Markets are perceived as self-organizing, self-assembling, exchanges of information, goods, and services. Adam Smith's "invisible hand" is the sum of all the mechanisms whose interaction gives rise to the optimal allocation of economic resources. The market's great advantages over central planning are precisely its randomness and its lack of self-awareness.

Market participants go about their egoistic business, trying to maximize their utility, oblivious of the interests and action of all, bar those they interact with directly. Somehow, out of the chaos and clamor, a structure emerges of order and efficiency unmatched. Man is incapable of intentionally producing better outcomes. Thus, any intervention and interference are deemed to be detrimental to the proper functioning of the economy.

It is a minor step from this idealized worldview back to the Physiocrats, who preceded Adam Smith, and who propounded the doctrine of "laissez faire, laissez passer" - the hands-off battle cry. Theirs was a natural religion. The market, as an agglomeration of individuals, they thundered, was surely entitled to enjoy the rights and freedoms accorded to each and every person. John Stuart Mill weighed against the state's involvement in the economy in his influential and exquisitely-timed "Principles of Political Economy", published in 1848.

Undaunted by mounting evidence of market failures - for instance to provide affordable and plentiful public goods - this flawed theory returned with a vengeance in the last two decades of the past century. Privatization, deregulation, and self-regulation became faddish buzzwords and part of a global consensus propagated by both commercial banks and multilateral lenders.

As applied to the professions - to accountants, stock brokers, lawyers, bankers, insurers, and so on - self-regulation was premised on the belief in long-term self-preservation. Rational economic players and moral agents are supposed to maximize their utility in the long-run by observing the rules and regulations of a level playing field.

This noble propensity seemed, alas, to have been tampered by avarice and narcissism and by the immature inability to postpone gratification. Self-regulation failed so spectacularly to conquer human nature that its demise gave rise to the most intrusive statal stratagems ever devised. In both the UK and the USA, the government is much more heavily and pervasively involved in the minutia of accountancy, stock dealing, and banking than it was only two years ago.

But the ethos and myth of "order out of chaos" - with its proponents in the exact sciences as well - ran deeper than that. The very culture of commerce was thoroughly permeated and transformed. It is not surprising that the Internet - a chaotic network with an anarchic modus operandi - flourished at these times.

The dotcom revolution was less about technology than about new ways of doing business - mixing umpteen irreconcilable ingredients, stirring well, and hoping for the best. No one, for instance, offered a linear revenue model of how to translate "eyeballs" - i.e., the number of visitors to a Web site - to money ("monetizing"). It was dogmatically held to be true that, miraculously, traffic - a chaotic phenomenon - will translate to profit - hitherto the outcome of painstaking labour.

Privatization itself was such a leap of faith. State owned assets - including utilities and suppliers of public goods such as health and education - were transferred wholesale to the hands of profit maximizers. The implicit belief was that the price mechanism will provide the missing planning and regulation. In other words, higher prices were supposed to guarantee an uninterrupted service. Predictably, failure ensued - from electricity utilities in California to railway operators in Britain.

The simultaneous crumbling of these urban legends - the liberating power of the Net, the self-regulating markets, the unbridled merits of privatization - inevitably gave rise to a backlash.

The state has acquired monstrous proportions in the decades since the Second world War. It is about to grow further and to digest the few sectors hitherto left untouched. To say the least, these are not good news. But we libertarians - proponents of both individual freedom and individual responsibility - have brought it on ourselves by thwarting the work of that invisible regulator - the market.

Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type (Design Briefs)Organized for Success: Top Executives and CEOs Reveal the Organizing Principles That Helped Them Reach the TopOrganized for Success : Top Executives and CEOs Reveal the Organizing Principles That Helped Them Reach the TopThe Art of Organizing Anything: Simple Principles for Organizing Your Home, Your Office, and Your LifeThe Brand BubbleThe Age of the Network: Organizing Principles for the 21st CenturyOrganizing Information: Principles of Data Base and Retrieval Systems (Library and Information Science)The Buzz about Bees: Biology of a SuperorganismOrganizing Principles of Neural Development (Nato Asi Series. Series a, Life Sciences, V. 78)Teaching for Proficiency, the Organizing PrincipleOrganizing Information: Principles and PracticesThe quest for a coherent school science curriculum: the need for an organizing principle.: An article from: The Review of Policy ResearchCONFETTI #48: "There are organizing principles in the universe . . . "; Limited Edition, Signed Silkscreen Print.Grid Systems: Principles of Organizing Type (Design Briefs)Teaching for Proficiency the Organizing PrincipleCONFETTI #49: "There are organizing principles in the universe . . . "; Limited Edition, Signed Silkscreen Print.Top Executives and CEOs Reveal the Organizing Principles That Helped Them Reach the Top- Top Executives and CEOs Reveal the Organizing Principles That Helped Them Reach the Top --2004 publicationGet Organized This Year!: Organizing principles and monthly checklists to create functional environments by the end of the year.The Self-organizing Revolution Common Principles of the Educational Alternatives MovementOrganizing the Community: A Review of Practical PrinciplesThe Brand Bubble: The Looming Crisis in Brand Value and How to Avoid ItPlanning and Organizing for Social Change: Action Principles from Social Science ResearchHigher Accounting Principles and Practice: Organizing a BusinessPrinciples of Grantsmanship: Manual for Writing and Organizing Competitive Grant ProposalsFIRST STEPS IN ORGANIZING A HOSPITAL AN EXPOSITION OF IDEALS AND PRINCIPLES INCIDENT TO THE INCEPTION AND ORGANIZATION OF A HOSPITALOrganizing the community; a review of practical principles. by BOn Self-Organization: An Interdisciplinary Search for a Unifying Principle (Springer Series in Synergetics)Planning and Organizing for Social Change: Action Principles from SociBehavior: The organizing principle for the nervous systemA Vision of Excellence: Organizing Principles for Middle Grades Teacher PreparationSome thoughts on the organizing principle in Christianity: Ab address, before the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, at the annual meeting, June 3, 1868Top Executives and CEOs Reveal the Organizing Principles That Helped Them Reach the Top Top Executives and CEOs Reveal the Organizing Principles That Helped Them Reach the Top

Aucun commentaire:

Rejoignez ces incomparables Masters professionnels – Tout Sur le Management, la Gouvernance et le Leadership

L’Ecole Internationale des Affaires ( EIA ) propose cinq (5) nouveaux masters professionnels à compter de novembre 2017 au niveau ...