Tuesday, August 19, 2008

HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL IS FAR WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT

BOOKS: WHAT THEY TEACH YOU ARE HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL

Philip Delves Broughton

Christopher Hart, Sunday Times, UK - In 2004, the journalist Philip Delves Broughton walked away from what sounds like a peach of a job, Paris bureau chief for the Daily Telegraph, to enroll in Harvard’s world-famous MBA course. . .

Feelings of unease emerge even before he arrives. He reads a student guide on What to Bring. “Don’t bring that guitar . . . Don’t bring any books from literature or history classes . . . Don’t bring your cynicism. Do bring all the diverse rest of you. We can’t wait to share the experience.” Immediately, his bolshie British bullshit- detector thrums into life: “Who were these people? And why did they talk like this? Why can’t I bring my cynicism? Or my books? Aren’t they a part of the ‘diverse rest of me’?” . . .

He is surprised at the large presence of earnest Mormons and unimaginative former-military men in this cauldron of capitalism. But gradually this begins to make sense, for HBS is pervaded with an oppressive atmosphere of unquestioning obedience and creepy religiosity. There is the confessional My Reflected Best-Self exercise, to encourage students “to create a developmental agenda for leveraging their reflected best-self” and “work maximally from positions of strength”. Approved results sound like this: “I do not take on the negative energy of the insecure . . . I stay centered . . . I try to model the message of integrity, growth and transformation.” . . .

The weirdest and creepiest episode is when a student writes to the entire school, confessing to a “regrettable property- damage incident”, a gorgeous euphemism for urinating against a neighboring student’s door. “His behaviour had made him realize he still had work to do figuring out exactly who he was.” . . . Even more creepily, Delves Broughton finds that he no longer responds to such tosh with a healthy snort of laughter. “It was serious, right? Leadership. Core values. Transformation. Being true to oneself.” It takes his wife - his American wife - to inject some common sense. “These people are freaks.”. . .

For all its vast reputation, power and pomposity, you feel that HBS neither understands the complexity nor acknowledges the chaotic unpredictability of the world economy any better than anyone else. More conclusively, it encourages its little alumni to major in hypocrisy. You go there for one simple reason: to make shedloads of money. Fine, so it’s no crime in itself to want to be absurdly and pointlessly rich, although it’s certainly no virtue. What sticks in the gullet is graduates’ self-flattering delusion that they’re on some kind of crusade, their “very American” insistence, as Delves Broughton puts it, on being not only “the most powerful, the richest and most successful”, but also “the most morally good”. At the same time as learning how to manipulate billions in order to profit, say, from ordinary people’s fretful indebtedness during a recession, you can believe that you are a philanthropic leader of men. Yet these are people whose answer to their own question, “How will I know how much is enough?” is, “When you've got your own jet.” Any notion that such jet-setting plutocrats are truly concerned about the rest of us, or the planet, or the future, is laughable. . .

These money-loving graduates must nurture “heightened self-awareness” and “a strong moral compass”, they must “foster integrity strategies”, acquire “leadership and values”. But why the hell would the rest of us want to be led by these spreadsheet-reading, PowerPoint-presenting swots who’ve devoted the best years of their lives simply to making moolah?

2 Comments:

At August 19, 2008 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A recurring experience for me is to be introduced by a person from Harvard to another person from Harvard. "X person from Harvard is nice" says Y person from Harvard. X is never actually kind or generous though. I don't think people who go through Harvard actually know what it means to be nice.

wellbasically

 
At August 20, 2008 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one from Harvard speaks of pay justice, but we MUST define pay justice. How can we know how much people should have and should pay unless we have sound, fundamental ideas of pay justice? James Madison said "The purpose of government is justice."

The state built on injustice cannot stand - so to be democratic, for the people to do their job of ruling, to save the state, to be patriotic, to love your country, to love yourself, to pursue happiness (of which pay justice is a very important part), you need to be able to locate pay justice.

At the moment, many are saying: these people should have less, these others should have more. But how much should they have? What are the principles of pay justice? Happiness [everyone's everything], survival of the state, peace, order, satisfaction – all depend on justice. Those are 'pretty important' things, yet we look in vain for thoughtful study of where pay justice is. It should have been the focus of all education, from young age right through. People should have been very sophisticated about pay justice, able to pinpoint it by good principles. Instead, all the debate we hear boils down to: they should have less, no, they shouldn't have less, they should have more, no, they shouldn't have more.

Pay justice is the great wallflower, waiting to give us the world average pay per hour, which is approximately US $40 per hour including paying housewives and students. Pay justice waits to give us peace and plenty - and give us our future back.

Pay ranges widely while no one asks how widely it should range. How are people going to be able to say: "This far and no further. This is the line between right and wrong, between fairpay and robbery, between fairpay and overpay-underpay."? Children should all grow up knowing that overpay-underpay is the cause of the shaking of societies to pieces. People should worry about their society being shaken to pieces. People should know that every empire so far has been shaken to pieces by pay injustice. There is no subject closer to civic responsibility and pursuit of happiness - no subject more worth our care and mental labour - and it is utterly neglected. Vigilance is the price of liberty – but vigilance about what? Very few can answer that question.

Proper pay is what a person's work would win them in a state of nature, plus an equal share of the benefits of division of labour. An equal share, since division of labour is a community effort, with equal contribution, so everyone should reap the benefits equally.
Pay justice is no-pay for no-work, pay only for work [= sacrifice], equal pay for equal work. Pay justice is taking out of the social pool of work as much as you put in, as your work puts in. [We pool the workproducts because of division of labour, and trade is ideally the exchange of items of equal workvalue, in order to remix goods separated by division of labour, job specialisation, to get the mix of goods everyone wants and needs.] The variety of goods we take out is ideally of equal workvalue to the workproducts we produced in our job. Anything more or less than this is overpay or underpay, and overpay-underpay is unjust, causing tensions which escalate endlessly as people try to get justice and people tug to and fro, causing violence, war, crime, weaponry growth - which has grown for 3000 years - and brought us to superextreme pay injustice and danger, and corruption, tyranny, slavery, wageslavery, disorder, undemocracy, falling states - all our gigantic problems.

What things are there, that justify unequal pay per unit of work, unequal pay/hr, unequal pay/yr? Are there any? Provided society pays students for studying, there are NO reasons for unequal pay per hour. Close scrutiny of the reasons given for unequal pay do not stand up to rational examination.

One common, universally accepted reason given for payment is personal gifts – he's really smart, she's especially talented, but reason says that these gifts are work done by mother nature. It doesn't take any work, any sacrifice, by anyone, to have these gifts, and using them doesn't mean the gifted person is sacrificing any more than a lesser gifted person does who uses the gifts he got. No one got to choose greater or lesser gifts. No one who has lower intellect or more fragile health or lesser innate abilities chose that for themselves, so it is no part of justice to force the lesser-gifted to give up equal pay in order to give overpay to those who won greater gifts. Rationally, [as distinct from the irrational invalid fallacious argument to the authority of irrational but accepted ideas, in which people put such great reliance] pay for natural gifts is as irrational as payment for receiving Christmas gifts, which has not received the fallacious support of custom.

Personal sacrifice of time and effort spent developing one's gifts is different. Pay for developing gifts [of commercial value] is just, because developing gifts is work. There is no *reason* anyone can give for payment for natural gifts, and no reason anyone can give for others having to fund this payment, and because the pool of wealth is finite, it is the underpaid who must take less for their sacrifice in order for there to be more to give the better-gifted. Everyone loves being paid for gifts, because they hope to benefit by them, but it hasn't worked out like that and it never will work out like that. 99% are paid less than the world average pay per hour. The downside of funding this payment is, for 99% of people, much greater than the benefit, but few are aware of this - of how they rob themselves by supporting this payment, of how they con themselves out of money by this, of how they open the floodgates of limitless overpay-underpay [and consequent violence and misery] by this support.

Again, and similarly, people support pay for experience - but cold, hard sense says that experience is gained at no extra sacrifice of time and effort beyond that made in doing the paid work that provided the experience. Again, people support it, defend it, although for 99%, the costs of funding this exceed the financial benefit to them. They con themselves out of their full rightful pay by mis-thinking that pay for experience gives them more money, and they thus open the floodgates to unlimited uncontrollable growth of overpay-underpay [and consequent unlimited uncontrollable violence, war, crime, weaponry ever-growing].

People don't want to look at justice because they fear it will mean less money - they never suspect that justice will mean more money and the destruction of violence.

How could stopping myself from getting pay for things like gifts and experience give me *more* money? It doesn't make sense to people - it doesn't make sense to people because they are looking at a tiny part of the picture – themselves only. Not being paid yourself for non-work things gives you more money because it stops others being paid for these things at your expense. Overpay, pay for nonwork, is funded by work for no pay, underpay, by others. The overpay buys things other people have worked to make. Your participation in this injustice prevents you stopping others benefiting from this leak - the line is crossed, erased, and there are no principles of justice left to limit pay, to prevent unlimited pay/hr, hence we have pay per hour, after 3000 years' growth of inequality, from $10,000,000 to 1cent - an inequality violence misery war crime weaponry tyranny slavery undemocracy unliberty unfraternity corruption brutality torture state-terrorism private-terrorism warmongering cannonfoddering disinformation rights-trampling factor of one billion, and rising - to extinction soon, thanks to e=mc2.

Happy people have no history. We have heaps of history - and history is now accelerating exponentially.

Get the idea of pay justice, and we get a history-free golden age. Keep faith with pay injustice, and we get oblivion. The bombs are global. Global means every house. Culture is based on ideas. Our idea for 3000 years has been wrong - it has produced underpay misery for 99%, overpay misery for 1%, and violence for everyone.

Overpay is necessarily always happiness-negative, because 1. satisfaction waits on desire, overpay is just 3000 pairs of shoes for two feet, 1000 rooms for one body, etc., and 2. erosion of overpay [individual, national and imperial] [by both underpaid and overpaid] is myriad and relentless, so the labour of keeping it is constant and danger-fraught: the sense of justice is indestructible.

The same "logic whoopsie" governs the universal support for private inheritance. The heir has done nothing to deserve that money, done nothing to earn/create that wealth. People see themselves getting money from private inheritance, they don't see themselves funding this gift, impoverishing themselves, and they don't see they are thereby starting the evergrowth of inequality violence misery.

The same logical error governs the universal support of profits above fairpay for work. By definition, the owners have done nothing to earn profits above fairpay for work - others fund that gift. For various reasons, it is not good to interfere directly with this injustice. It can be controlled at the macro-macro level by making everyone equal heirs of large deceased estates. Everyone has done the work that the overfortunes represent and buy, so overfortunes belong to everyone.

And the same logical error [seeing only part of the picture, imagining themselves gaining, not seeing themselves losing by funding the bigger gains for others, not seeing themselves opening the gates to ever-growing inequality violence misery, which gets to everyone, overpaid and underpaid] governs the support of capital gains. People do the work that builds cities or other infrastructure, but only landowners get the added value - and get it in proportion to their fortunes - for no work, for no sacrifice of personal time and effort to working.

We only have to see the reality, we only have to see the real enormous badness of pay injustice, and the real enormous goodness of pay justice, and human culture is changed forever, violence dies forever - [war is not human nature - human nature is unchanging and violence has grown for 3000 years - no correlation, therefore no causality. And so-called religious and racial wars are pay-injustice wars along religious or racial lines; where there are religious or racial differences without pay injustice, there are no wars - again, no correlation, so no causality.] Culture is ideas. A change of ideas is change of culture. And the ideas are not hard to see.

No force is needed, just education, just epiphany - no evergrowing bureaucracy, but a massive reduction of bureaucracy [lower taxes, more money and freedom for productivity] - no group, just individual realization and tell your friends - no economic upheaval, just a little law with gigantic benefit - no restriction of ambition, just efficient prevention of evergrowth of pay injustice. Pay injustice is the vital justice, because money is the joker good, good for most things, including social power.

Justice causes happiness. We can secure far, far greater happiness for this whole planet, but not by pretending to believe in justice but by knowing the reality: pay injustice is theft, theft is injury, injury ricochets untiringly as atoms. As doormats, people are totally unreliable - every plutocracy has fallen. Where is Spanish Inca gold? Honey attracts bears. The Golden Rule is ironclad: hurt people and they hurt back. Other-injury is self-injury - ask Hitler, Marie Antoinette, Ceausescu, Nero, Richard III.

Justice is not a cost, it is happiness out of the vast quagmire, at the cost of objective, patient examination of a new expression of an ancient idea, at the cost of ditching idols that have hurt us enormously, that are set to kill us - is the price too high?

 

Post a Comment

<< Home