If I own 1,, shares, board's better listen. Now if we can only get our mutual funds to kick ass about abuses like bonuses for failure, worker abuse, etc.
Phacops , June 24, at am Activist fund managers? Several years ago, and despite pointing out that high executive compensation injures shareholder value, I was told that there is no interest in voting shares to limit compensation of executives. Off The Street , June 24, at am Fourth, the concentration of power in the hands of passive nominee owners reinforces the control of a small ruling elite in quoted businesses, who are insulated by this arrangement from any real accountability whilst being able to pretend that it exists.
Those nominee owners don't seem all that passive. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. John Wright , June 24, at am Note, Warren Buffet disagreed with a Coca Cola pay package, but he could not actually vote against it he abstained. He had abstained from voting through the original pay guidelines, saying at the time "I could never vote against Coca-Cola, but I couldn't vote for the plan either.
If independently wealthy Buffett cannot find the courage to vote against a pay package he finds egregious, one wonders if other fund managers, of lower independence and wealth will show much activism in bucking corporate management. Ape , June 24, at am Coase's theorem isn't a theorem -- and it's not even right! Worshipping liquidity so that equilibrium models fit which is backwards, right?
Coase is a religion, not a scientific model and definitely not a theorem. And these kind of things show how bad an equilibrium analysis is of economic systems. Even the tiniest bump in the manifold, and you get turbulence which can lead to storms. Dumping liquidity into a turbulent system and you get more turbulence which eventually becomes self-sustaining structures in the face of the very even flow you were trying to create.
Since said shareholders are, in effect, absentee landlords, executives are running the game for what? Their own benefit? I'm shocked, shocked I tell you. While the right wingers repeat that the corporation should take care of shareholder interest, they actually mean these majority shareholders, who loot the corporation for their own benefit.
Arizona Slim , June 24, at pm Yet another example of control fraud. If an extremely large mutual fund goes underweight a listed stock relative to its target benchmark index or the competition you could easily end up with the largest holder of that stock having a financial interest in the stock's underperformance. Norm , June 24, at am A theoretical economic justification for almost any aspect of large scale capitalism is prima facie ridiculous. Like everything else, capitalism is a game of power and although it's pleasant to dream about countervailing power being held by consumers, investors, competitors and employees, the only enduring form of resistance to CEO governance is government.
Unfortunately, the part of government that has been charged with controlling the corporation has been AWOL for a long, long time. The Democrats, the supposed champion of everyone who is not a CEO have long ago crossed the line and serve the other side hopefully, prayerfully, with some exceptions. Without it the system doesn't work and is prone to freezing up. So naturally, shareholders looked like liquidity incarnate in Liquidity made more urgent by all the mismanagement of the economy and the inability to understand and control inflation; Paul Volker's rate hike.
And to make those nominee funds look like honest business Milton Friedman began to tout shareholder rights and values. It makes sense — how it all happened. I remember thinking, What happened to good old fashioned capitalism? This went hand in hand with the new and improved MBA, preferably from Harvard and the valuation of efficiencies that were short sighted and superficial.
How many corporations got rid of their excess baggage, fired all their old hands, hired new managers, etc? Then off-shoring. It amounted to decimation in order to free up liquidity — sounds like an oxymoron now. It was based on nothing more than optimism. Which to my thinking runs sorta parallel to ponzi.
It was inevitable that shareholder capitalism was used as an excuse for tax loops and fraud. Agents, "nominee funds", are happily removed from reality. It became open season for private equity, money laundering, whatever. Liquidity became synonymous with profit taking. All those equities were "ambiguous promises " which were nothing more than "residual claims" offered by nominee proxies offering no good corporate governance.
So the question pops up, What happens now that liquidity has blown itself up? Its fitting that all the central banks are infusing money into the system as fast as they can because they must balance out the massive inequality that occurred — even though that money isn't getting to the right party. It's so beyond nuts. How do we make things work again? And so to the point — what does a share really mean — does it carry both rights and obligations?
All those questions just got left in the dust. I hadn't connected several dots in quite this way before. Because it was so obviously share price manipulation by insiders. Share prices would more accurately reflect the company's financial performance. You remember that stuff: things like earnings per share, market share, new product launches, cost containment. Good governance would follow. RBHoughton , June 24, at pm Very grateful for this bit of rare clarity about financial intermediaries and the games they play. Back in the beginning of joint-stock companies everyone knew they were dodgy investments run by dodgy people.
You put only a small amount of your capital in them and the bulk in government stock. Now they have bought the protection they need, secured limited liability for their acts and got a corrupt Treasury to enact that a company is a person. Speaks volumes about our political representatives. Tom Bradford , June 24, at pm A sensible article from the viewpoint of one outside looking in. But as I see it Murphy is still living in the 19th Century.
And if the Company goes under I've lost my retirement savings. I'd have to choose the ten, of course, on the basis of public information and wouldn't be able to scrutinize them all equally, and my stake would make my snapping at the heels of the directors even less of a consideration.
I'd only get a tiny slice of any spectacular commercial successes, but that's the consequence of not gambling which is what choosing to invest in one or two companies in fact is. In short, for someone in retirement, pooled investment makes the best sense. And while I don't know the actual figures I would be prepared to gamble a small amount that a considerable slice the total amount invested in the stock market is 'owned' by the retired, or the sooner or later to be retired. As is usual, the headline economic number is always the rosiest number.
That sounds pretty good. Except for the part where it is a lie. For starters, it doesn't account for inflation. While the financial news was bullish, the actual professionals took the news differently. Secondly, 1. For instance, none of this applied to you if you are an older worker. On the other hand, if you worked for a bank your wages went up at a rate far above average. This goes double if you are in management. Finally, there is the reason for this incredibly small wage increase fo regular workers.
The tiny wage increase that the working class has seen is because of what the capitalists said was a terrible idea. But elsewhere, many workers and employers are experiencing a minimum wage well above levels. That's because state capitols and, to an unprecedented degree, city halls have become far more active in setting their own minimum wages. Adjusted for inflation, this is probably the highest minimum wage in American history. The effective minimum wage has not only outpaced inflation in recent years, but it has also grown faster than typical wages.
We can see this from the Kaitz index, which compares the minimum wage with median overall wages. So if you are waiting for capitalism to trickle down on you, it's never going to happen. Teachers need free speech protection. The bill would specify that "a public school district may not willfully transfer, terminate or fail to renew the contract of a teacher because the teacher has publicly or privately supported a public policy decision of any kind. Teachers across the country are raising similar concerns about retaliation.
Such fears aren't unfounded: Lawmakers in some states that saw strikes last year have introduced bills this year that would punish educators for skipping school to protest. Jackrabbit , Jan 15, PM lin k. According to Wolin, domestic and foreign affairs goals are each important and on parallel tracks, as summarized at Wikipedia, the United States has two main totalizing dynamics:.
The second dynamic, directed inward, involves the subjection of the mass of the populace to economic "rationalization", with continual "downsizing" and "outsourcing" of jobs abroad and dismantling of what remains of the welfare state created by President Franklin D. Johnson's Great Society. Neoliberalism is an integral component of inverted totalitarianism. The state of insecurity in which this places the public serves the useful function of making people feel helpless, therefore making it less likely they will become politically active and thus helping maintain the first dynamic.
Wolin's Inverted Totalitarianism provides the ground work for my suspicions regarding faux populists Obama and Trump:. Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state because of the opinion construction and manipulation carried out by means of technology, social science, contracts and corporate subsidies. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website.
In a new INET paper featured in the Financial Times , economist William Lazonick lays out a theory about how corporations can work for everyone — not just a few executives and Wall Streeters. He challenges a set of controversial ideas that became gospel in business schools and the mainstream media starting in the s. Lynn Parramore: Since the s, business schools have touted "agency theory," a controversial set of ideas meant to explain how corporations best operate.
Proponents say that you run a business with the goal of channeling money to shareholders instead of, say, creating great products or making any efforts at socially responsible actions such as taking account of climate change. Many now take this view as gospel, even though no less a business titan than Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, called the notion that a company should be run to maximize shareholder value "the dumbest idea in the world.
He explained that, "shareholder value is a result, not a strategy" and that a company's "main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products. He knew that the employees' skills and efforts enable the company to develop those products and sell them.
If a publicly-listed corporation succeeds in creating innovative goods or services, then shareholders stand to gain from dividend payments if they hold shares or if they sell at a higher price. But where does the company's value actually come from? It comes from employees who use their collective and cumulative learning to satisfy customers with great products. It follows that these employees are the ones who should be rewarded when the business is a success. We've become blinded to this simple, obvious logic. LP: What have these academic theorists missed about how companies really operate and perform?
How have their views impacted our economy and society? That's strange, since they are talking about how companies succeed. They believe that to be efficient, business corporations should be run to "maximize shareholder value. WL: When you buy shares of a stock, you are not creating value for the company -- you're just a saver who buys shares outstanding on the stock market for the sake of a yield on your financial portfolio. Public shareholders are value extractors , not value creators. By touting public shareholders as a corporation's value creators, agency theorists lay the groundwork for some very harmful activities.
They legitimize "hedge fund activists," for example. These are aggressive corporate predators who buy shares of a company on the stock market and then use the power bestowed upon them by the ill-conceived U. That often means mass layoffs and depressed incomes for anybody who remains. In an industry like pharmaceuticals , the activists also press for extortionate product price increases.
The higher profits tend to boost stock prices for the activists and other shareholders if they sell their shares on the market. LP: So the hedge fund activists are extracting value from a corporation instead of creating it, and yet they are the ones who get enriched. WL: Right. Agency theory aids and abets this value extraction by advocating, in the name of "maximizing shareholder value," massive distributions to shareholders in the form of dividends for holding shares as well as stock buybacks that you hear about, which give manipulative boosts to stock prices.
Activists get rich when they sell the shares. The people who created the value -- the employees -- often get poorer. LP: You've called stock buybacks -- what happens when a company buys back its own shares from the marketplace, often to manipulate the stock price upwards -- the "legalized looting of the U. WL: If you buy shares in Apple, for example, you can get a dividend for holding shares and, possibly, a capital gain when you sell the shares. That's fine. How can a corporation return capital to parties that never supplied it with capital?
It's a very misleading concept. The vast majority of people who hold Apple's publicly-listed shares have simply bought outstanding shares on the stock market. They have contributed nothing to Apple's value-creating capabilities. There are many ways in which the company could have returned its profits to employees and taxpayers -- the real value creators -- that are consistent with an innovative business model. Instead, in doing massive buybacks, Apple's board which includes former Vice President Al Gore has endorsed legalized looting.
The SEC bears a lot of blame. It's supposed to protect investors and make sure financial markets are free of manipulation. But back in , the SEC bought into agency theory under Reagan and came up with a rule that gives corporate executives a "safe harbor" against charges of stock-price manipulation when they do billions of dollars of buybacks for the sole purpose of manipulating their company's stock price.
LP: But don't shareholders deserve some of the profits as part owners of the corporation? WL: Let's say you buy stock in General Motors. You are just buying a share that is outstanding on the market. You are contributing nothing to the company. And you will only buy the shares because the stock market is highly liquid, enabling you to easily sell some or all of the shares at any moment that you so choose. In contrast, people who work for General Motors supply skill and effort to generate the company's innovative products. They are making productive contributions with expectations that, if the innovative strategy is successful, they will share in the gains -- a bigger paycheck, employment security, a promotion.
In providing their labor services, these employees are the real value creators whose economic futures are at risk. LP: This is really different from what a lot of us have been taught to believe. An employee gets a paycheck for showing up at work -- there's your reward. When we take a job, we probably don't expect management to see us as risk-takers entitled to share in the profits unless we're pretty high up. WL: If you work for a company, even if its innovative strategy is a big success, you run a big risk because under the current regime of "maximizing shareholder value" a group of hedge fund activists can suck the value that you've created right out, driving your company down and making you worse off and the company financially fragile.
And they are not the only predators you have to deal with. Incentivized with huge amounts of stock-based pay, senior corporate executives will, and often do, extract value from the company for their own personal gain -- at your expense. As Professor Jang-Sup Shin and I argue in a forthcoming book, senior executives often become value-extracting insiders. And they open the corporate coffers to hedge fund activists, the value-extracting outsiders. Large institutional investors can use their proxy votes to support corporate raids, acting as value-extracting enablers. You put in your ideas, knowledge, time, and effort to make the company a huge success, and still you may get laid off or find your paycheck shrinking.
The losers are not only the mass of corporate employees -- if you're a taxpayer, your money provides the business corporation with physical infrastructure, like roads and bridges, and human knowledge, like scientific discoveries, that it needs to innovate and profit. Senior corporate executives are constantly complaining that they need lower corporate taxes in order to compete, when what they really want is more cash to distribute to shareholders and boost stock prices. In that system, they win but the rest of us lose. LP: Some academics say that hedge fund activism is great because it makes a company run better and produce higher profits.
Others say, "No, Wall Streeters shouldn't have more say than executives who know better how to run the company. How so? WL: A company has to be run by executive insiders, and in order to produce innovation these executives have got to do three things:. First you need a resource-allocation strategy that, in the face of uncertainty, seeks to generate high-quality, low-cost products.
Second, you need to implement that strategy through training, retaining, motivating, and rewarding employees, upon whom the development and utilization of the organization's productive capabilities depend. Third, you have to mobilize and leverage the company's cash flow to support the innovative strategy. But under the sway of the "maximizing shareholder value" idea, many senior corporate executives have been unwilling, and often unable, to perform these value-creating functions.
Agency theorists have got it so backwards that they actually celebrate the virtues of " the value extracting CEO. Massive stock buybacks is where the incentives of corporate executives who extract value align with the interests of hedge fund activists who also want to suck value from a corporation. When they promote this kind of alliance, agency theorists have in effect served as academic agents of activist aggression.
Lacking a theory of the value-creating firm, or what I call a "theory of innovative enterprise," agency theorists cannot imagine what an executive who creates value actually does. They don't see that it's crucial to align executives' interests with the value-creating investment requirements of the organizations over which they exercise strategic control. This intellectual deficit is not unique to agency theorists; it is inherent in their training in neoclassical economics. LP: So if shareholders and executives are too often just looting companies to enrich themselves — "value extraction," as you put it — and not caring about long-term success, who is in a better position to decide how to run them, where to allocate resources and so on?
WL: We need to redesign corporate-governance institutions to promote the interests of American households as workers and taxpayers. Because of technological, market, or competitive uncertainties, workers take the risk that the application of their skills and the expenditure of their efforts will be in vain. In financing investments in infrastructure and knowledge, taxpayers make productive capabilities available to business enterprises, but with no guaranteed return on those investments. These stakeholders need to have representation on corporate boards of directors. Predators, including self-serving corporate executives and greed-driven shareholder activists, should certainly not have representation on corporate boards.
LP: Sounds like we've lost sight of what a business needs to do to be successful in the long run, and it's costing everybody except a handful of senior executives, hedge fund managers, and Wall Street bankers. How would your "innovation theory" help companies run better and make for a healthier economy and society?
WL: Major corporations are key to the operation and performance of the economy. So we need a revolution in corporate governance to get us back on track to stable and equitable economic growth. Besides changing board representation, I would change the incentives for top executives so that they are rewarded for allocating corporate resources to value creation. Senior executives should gain along with the rest of the organization when the corporation is successful in generating competitive products while sharing the gains with workers and taxpayers.
Innovation theory calls for changing the mindsets and skill sets of senior executives. That means transforming business education, including the replacement of agency theory with innovation theory. That also means changing the career paths through which corporate personnel can rise to positions of strategic control, so that leaders who create value get rewarded and those who extract it are disfavored.
At the institutional level, it would be great to see the SEC, as the regulator of financial markets, take a giant step in supporting value creation by banning stock buybacks whose purpose it is to manipulate stock prices. To get from here to there, we have to replace nonsense with common sense in our understanding of how business enterprises operate and perform. Enquiring Mind , October 6, at am. Owners come first! That was the slogan of our former board chair. He didn't disclose to the employees that his compensation was influenced mightily by how big the net income was.
He did tell the employees that they were well down the hierarchy, after Owners capital O and then vendors and then customers. His former employees deserted in droves. I'd say that maximizing long-term shareholder value is a great idea the problem is, as is so often the case these days, short-term thinking.
Driving away a company's best employees makes that quarter's numbers look better, but destroys long-term value. Same thing for so many other short-term, "I'll be gone, you'll be gone" strategies. One step to fixing things — change the definition of long-term capital gains from the current 1 year to, say, 5 years. This "one simple trick" would fix everything from the carried interest loophole to the abuses inherent in the current Wall Street gambling mentality. They control the board and the CEO and the CEO institutes the will of the shareholders down into the business entities, determining the level of reinvestment in the business units and the level of employee compensation.
That will continue to be the case until the company goes bankrupt at which point shareholders are entitled to nothing. I agree with others that Jack Welch is saying what he is saying after the fact. Way too easy to do. Yeah so he talks a good game but when he had the reins — one of the most powerful men in the world meekly ok, that's a hilarious adjective when applied to Jack Welsh followed the herd. Or more accurately, found out where the herd was heading and got out in front of it.
The true sign of modern "leadership". Folks at GE back in the day nicknamed him "Neutron Jack" — if he visited a site, all the employees disappeared, leaving only the buildings standing. Reminds me of something i have read, supposedly a quite from some politician or other, going to the tune of "i need to find out where the mob is going, so i can lead them there". Welch's primary business strategy at GE was to exit every product market in which GE's market share was not in the top two in the industry selling them off or closing them down and reallocate resources to industries where GE was market dominant, often buying up the competition rather than truly investing in innovation.
A truly awful human being. As I personally have always believed, Employees have more invested in their employers than shareholders. Shareholders can sell quickly and have no loyalty. Employees do not enjoy such a liquid "jobs market. There also seems to be a turning point in companies, where they change the perception of the customers form a group to be treasured, to a group who are to b exploited — change the relationship so the customers become "marks. I also believe there should be an almost automatic "break -up" provision for companies who reach a certain market share.
Finally there should be one definition of income, and it should include Wages, Dividends, and Capital Gains. Yes, anti-trust enforcement would be nice. Hypothetical President Sanders might actually do that. Clinton, H. Clinton, and Trump have other priorities. Sen Bernie Sanders sees right through the neoclassical fetters, blinders, and bullshit.
He recognizes how intellectually and economically stagnant and dangerous it is. He has the most powerful conceptual, articulate grasp of economics that I've seen the past 40 years. Also notable: Sen Elizabeth Warren. The other political operators that you mention are still in thrall to neoclassical assumptions.
They mistake 'takers' for 'makers' and are economically bamboozled. And it has worked out well for all of them, on a personal basis, so it is not surprising that they don't see the problems. Anyone actually trying to build an innovative business, OTOH, has to see through the bamboozlement or else you're out of business pronto. The class of humans that by inclination and opportunity become C-Suite and VC looters and "owners:" did they precede the imprimatur of "economists" with their notions of price, value, and crossing of curves, or did the "economists" do a Martin Luther, nail up a bunch of theses, and preach fire and brimstone to turn the greedheads loose?
Neil Fligstein wrote a good book awhile back called The Transformation of Corporate Control that shows how most large manufacturing companies were initially run by engineers, then sales people, then finance people as corporations came to be seen as bundles of assets as opposed to businesses. I think this transformation paralleled the rise of neoclassical economics. So, not so much "chicken-and-egg" as "class war. The Lincoln Electric Company, which became famous for its "Incentive Management" program of compensating employees, was a client of mine. Over three decades I saw it progress through precisely those stages, and gradually lose every characteristic that had made the company unique.
If you work for a company, even if its innovative strategy is a big success, you run a big risk because under the current regime of "maximizing shareholder value" a group of hedge fund activists can suck the value that you've created right out, driving your company down and making you worse off and the company financially fragile. And we've had a government by and for hedge fund managers for about the same amount of time that we've had economic woes. One problem is that hedge funders like Romney, who actually don't think about consumer product development, actually don't have to test and deploy products, bring their bean-counter assumptions to business and make a hash of things.
I mention Romney specifically, because he presents himself to the world as a paragon of economic wisdom. Just a thought: "innovation theory," like MMT, is maybe just a tool set? Or release their chokehold on "policy? Says the proponent: "Major corporations are key to the operation and performance of the economy. Besides changing board representation, I would change the incentives for top executives so they are rewarded for allocating corporate resources to value creation.
The Big Banks? And "back on track": When has the political economy, writ small or large, ever been "on track to stability and equitable growth," said "growth' itself seemingly one of the pathologies that's killing us?
- Illness in Context. (At the Interface Probing the Boundaries);
- The neoliberal era in Britain: Historical developments and current perspectives.
- An Equal Start?: Providing Quality Early Education and Care for Disadvantaged Children.
And who's going to write the entries for the corporate senior executives' dance cards that will measure their "success," in those feel-good categories? But it's a good conversation piece, and maybe an opening into Something Better, however us inherently mostly self-interested, self-pleasing omnivorous predators might define "better ". Badly run companies, naturally extinguish themselves. Unfortunately they take down their customers, owners, vendors and employees in the process. But the government can step in and either save a company that otherwise would die, or act as a crony corruption partner on behalf of a well connected company.
Same as it always was. But since gigantism is the norm, rather than family run farms in a mostly agrarian economy such failures are catastrophic. The linkage between these elephants tends to create systemic risk. Previously, failure was small and isolated. Welcome to our wonderful new world of infinite mutual vulnerability! Risk On! Nuclear weapons, Equifax, Googleamazon, NSApanopticon, FIRE, hacking, crapification The Soviet Union vanished as an entity, many starved, but the mopes there at least still knew how to raise up edible crops and live on "less" and maybe do better collective response to that sharp peak on the entropy curve.
Politicising the Australian Public Service? – Parliament of Australia
Wonder how things might play out exceptionally, here in the Empire? The eloi will continue to become ever more useless, putting insane pressures on the few remaining morlocks they allow to do all the work. Will robots save us? Not very likely, since they will be used to further enrich the parasites above all. The BBC is another good example of how managerialism has wrecked a not-for-profit corporation.
Until McKinsey infiltrated the place, the BBC didn't really have a "brand" to speak of; if it considered its corporate identity at all, it was only in terms of how its output of programming conveyed what it was supposed to be about as an organisation. Then, it brought in the brand consultants to develop an image of what it thought it should be.
Nothing necessarily wrong with that. What caused the rot to set in was when the brand image started to define the programming output. Was, the brand managers asked the producers and directors, this-or-that programme compliant with the brand guidelines? If the BBC's brand was not merely delivering communications which are honest and have integrity but also now need to be "simple to understand", "completely neutral at all times" or "a balance of positive as well as negative content" then you end up, as we largely have, with a lot of cosy-consensus mediocrity and an institution which only serves its own internal vested interests.
Managerialism: A Critique of an Ideology. Corporate and government decay seem to be mirroring each other, and this new obsession among the intelligentsia with messaging over substance is a major component of that. I'd say that this is also the reason it's impossible to get the government in order. The corporate media is in bed with the corporate state, because patriotism, and most Americans are simply too burned-out or drug-addled to question anything.
And if people do sense something is wrong and want a drastic change—well then there's Trump. It accelerated by when every corporate finance and law professor taught short term quarterly profit was the only responsibility of management. The combination could only lead to the current 'propaganda as responsible management' philosophy. I don't know when the turning point was, but it had something to do with neoliberalism becoming the "Washington Consensus" and the dogma that everything had to be "run like a business" became universally accepted.
I would guess about the Carter administration. Wow -- It's an amazing story yet I should not be surprised. It's become a common theme throughout American society. We have the usual suspects, greedy, self centered individuals looking out for their interests, using the established modus operandi. Cut, slash and burn as many systems as possible while painting over the truth with colorful, truth distorting logic while enriching your self on the way.
Funny timing. It as white all over and the doors emblazoned with the red cross. In tiny print toward the back it said "donated by GM". Made me sick. Got me thinking about all of the mismanagement going back decades.
Personally, I'll throw any charitable discretionary money I might have into the gutter before I'd send a cent to the Red Cross. Took three strikes—but I'm done with them. Much later the Twin Towers came down and I felt compelled to donate. When several weeks later I heard officials talk about the amount of contributions received, and asked us to dig deeper—they also revealed that they were setting aside toward future disasters at least half of donated dollars. Whether this was true I don't know—but the fact that it made it into public discussion was not a skillful marketing ploy.
I then heard horror stories from local volunteers here on the unaffected part of the gulf coast who dropped what they were doing to offer help and support to Hurricane Katrina victims in myriad ways A veterinary friend—after describing the absolute chaos he encountered in the area—reported that late one night, after a gut-wrenching and exhausting day, he walked into the Red Cross tent for a cup of coffee.
There are local charities still deserving of my small discretionary donations—so I won't truly be throwing money into the gutter; but if my only choice was give to the RC or throw it away: I'd throw it away. Thanks for the article. I think further investigation would show that others charities—particularly those like the American Diabetes Association with which I'm familiar — have adopted that same managerialism model. This year, for the first time ever in my adult life, I did not sent a contribution to the Red Cross.
All the reasons listed in this excellent post went into my decision not to contribute. I still feel bad about it, but I can't 'enable' continued bad management of the Red Cross. This article proves yet again that by their words shall they be known. In this day and age when almost everything from politics to education is being subsumed by business lingo, it's interesting to see by the Red Cross example where it will all end up.
When organizations are defined in financial and business terms, there is no room for alleviating or preventing human suffering. Crapification of "charities" abounds. I've lived in So CA at least part time since the '90s. It's unfortunate, as this organization probably does some good stuff, but it's priorities are not good. I donate a certain amount every year, and I look very closely and carefully at the organizations to whom I give my hard-earned dollars.
Advise everyone else to do the same. There's a lot of "charities" out there that exist primarily to enrich those at the top, and any good that's done for others — whom the "charity" alleges to serve or support — is strictly incidental. This is a great dissection of the decline at this august organization. Partners In Health is an example of a charity worth supporting.
Looking at the website of her company, Pace Communications, it took me awhile to figure out what they really do, which seems to be something on par with publishing airline magazines. It really isn't clear why this woman should have attained her power and status — e. Seems emblematic of the rot at the top of the US elite. Well publicized failures in the Hurricane Sandy response and the failure of their attempts at increased revenues through price raises, "branding" and marketing aside, the ARC WAS in increasingly dire straits when she took over.
By many accounts centralizing things and closing many local branches WAS a necessity, because cutting overhead was desperately needed in an organization that was loosing large amounts of money every year. This is often that case with these "superstar managers," If everything is working well the organization doesn't bring them on. But when an organization is already floundering, the Boards look for a "superstar" that can "turn it around. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which runs the subways and buses in Washington DC recently went through a protracted process of hiring a new director because there was a real deep divide on the board between those who wanted a transit executive and those who wanted a "turnaround specialist.
The Red Cross was bleeding red ink, partly because of less demand for blood products in surgery they sell the blood that gets donated and partly because their labeling system was out of date, which reduced demand compared to their competitors' products. The Red Cross isn't the kind of non-profit that can survive the loss of goodwill in a community.
And they still haven't addressed the labeling problem. NC readers might be interested in this report, which caused quite a stir in the UK yesterday. Needless to say it has been denounced as worthless by the charities concerned. Labeling these people generic managers or whatever is far too kind. The goal and driving force of these people was to extract more money from those most in need of charity and assistance.
These people are shitty human beings, so call them what they are. Charities are not businesses. Charities, by definition, plan to GIVE things or services to others, not sell them, not to make profit. Putting profit loving Randians, possessed with the goal of using corporate profit taking methods, in charge of a charity is like putting "arsonists for profit" in charge of the fire department. The people that suffer are those that NEED charity, be it in the form of shelter, services, goods, or information, and we, as a society, are diminished. Sadly the problem is spreading internationally, as US universities is seen as cream of the crop.
With Bill Oreilly yelling and throwing spittle at the TV cameras, a change had to be made. I'm sure more than a few of his budddies, who are very Professional Managers, were first in the door.
It's just another part of the planned destruction of any sort of locally based ability or lobby. There is not enough money in the world to pay McGovern a bonus that would make up for what she has done to the RC. Perhaps a year stint in a max security prison would be a start though. Harvard Business? The article is part and parcel with how private interests have been dominated by profit driven incentives even in the most sacred trust areas of the public domain of non-profit charities essentially built on the back of American volunteers.
But make no mistake about it, this is only the tip of the iceberg where private asset stealth is involved in milking and bilking the public trust. We have frequently posted about what we have called generic management , the manager's coup d'etat , and mission-hostile management. Managerialism wraps these concepts up into a single package. The idea is that all organizations, including health care organizations, ought to be run people with generic management training and background, not necessarily by people with specific backgrounds or training in the organizations' areas of operation.
These principles in turn ought to be based on current neoliberal dogma , with the prime directive that short-term revenue is the primary goal sometimes in the for-profit sphere called the shareholder value principle, look here. The ProPublica article showed how the leadership of the American Red Cross was given over to generic managers; how they ran the organization based on generic business management principles; and how the results were bad for the organization's mission.
I will address each point with quotes from the article, and add the commentary that was lacking in a straight investigative journalistic report. Her academic background was in the "quantitative sciences. Then came six years as a marketing professor at Harvard Business School On the other hand, she apparently had no specific experience, training or expertise relating to the mission of the Red Cross, and specifically no experience, training or expertise in public health, health care, blood banking, or disaster relief.
The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Ms McGovern was hired at a time when the dogma that business managers ought to run everything was becoming very prominent. McGovern, selected after a global search by a headhunting firm, was seen as a candidate who would bring private-sector methods to the nonprofit. According to Wikipedia , she is a businesswoman whose undergraduate degree was in business, who worked for Bank of America and then founded Pace Communications, and who also has no discernable experience or expertise in health care, public health, or disaster relief.
The ProPublica article did not suggest that Ms McElveen-Hunter or anyone else really thought through how a generica manager practicing managerialism would actually benefit the mission of the Red Cross. Again, any consideration of whether running the Red Cross "more like a business" would improve its success as a charity was not evident. The work of the Red Cross was traditionally done by local chapters.
The new generic managers sought to decrease their independence from "corporate. Today, there around , though some former chapter offices stayed open even as they were folded into other chapters. The Red Cross declined to say how many offices it closed. Over the course of McGovern's tenure, the number of paid employees fell from around 36, to around 23, and the Red Cross today spends several hundred million dollars less a year than it did in Most of the staff cuts were from local chapters, not the blood business, though the Red Cross declined to provide a breakdown.
To a leadership obsessed with marketing, appearance may have seemed to be everything. Yet again, suppressing the bad news does not make what generated it disappear. In a statement, the Red Cross said the bonuses were appropriate because the division hit 'strategic milestones' including establishing 'a national tele-service platform and national sales and service delivery models. Furthermore, there is evidence that during the reign of McGovern, the top managers as a group have been very well paid, especially given that they were running a charity whose good works are largely supported by contribuations and the taxpayers.
Since then, while Ms McGovern's compensation has actually declined, the number of very well paid managers has actually grown. So despite all the problems afflicting the Red Cross see below, and the larger ProPublica series , the top managers still managed to pay themselves very well. The Results were Bad. Those who push generic management practices often seem blind to their adverse effects. So, many of those who taught classes - including volunteers who did the work for free - quit after being turned off by headquarters' poor communication.
She has surrounded herself with a tight-knit group of former telecom colleagues, they say. An internal assessment previously reported by ProPublica and NPR said national headquarters' focus on image slowed the delivery of relief aid during Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy. Officials engaged in ' diverting assets for public relation purposes ,' according to the assessment. Then, in September, a drought-fueled fire swept through the area, consuming more than 75, acres and 1, homes. Because of the issues with the Red Cross' shelter , nearly all of 1, displaced people at the Napa County Fairgrounds - including the elderly, new mothers and children, and anyone with a pet - ended up sleeping outside in tents, cars or RVs.
The problems were first reported by the Press Democrat newspaper. The Red Cross responders were inexperienced and, according to residents, not enough of them spoke Spanish, the language of many of the fire victims. In general, as told by former Red Cross volunteer Becky Maxwell, a self-described "die-hard Red Cross person for 25 years," who quit after becoming increasingly frustrated,. The Red Cross Board of Governors , largely composed of well paid business managers e. The new team cut costs, laid off employees, centralized management, and focused on marketing.
The apparent results were fewer, less experienced, upset staff; fewer volunteers; declining interest in public health training products; and worsening disaster response. Thus, once again, generic managers and managerialism have laid low a formerly proud charity. Unfortunately, this one also happens to have vital public health and disaster relief roles that have now been severely compromised. Based on previous experience, it should come as no surprise that generic managers who do not know much or care much about public health and health care, and who rely on a one-size fits all management dogma uninformed by the public health or health care context or public health or health care values will end up undermining patients' and the public's health.
The real surprise is that the generic managers have up to now had no problem maintaining the managers' coup d'etat , that is, their iron grip on the leadership of most public health and health care organizations. To prevent our ongoing downward spiral, we need to reverse the managers' coup d'etat, and return leadership to those who understand health and health care, support their values, and are willing to be accountable for doing so. Anonymous said Roy M. Poses MD said I'm afraid Shkreli is not really a typical generic manager, and certainly not typical of the CEO of a big pharma or other health care corporation.
Also, he is basically a hedge fund guy, and I don't believe there is any love lost between big corporate CEOs and hedgies. Finally, Shkreli was willing to say out loud what most big corporate managers would not: it's all about the money. So I wouldn't be surprised if the big-time managerialists are cheering now that he was arrested. They can use his arrest to pretend that regulation and law enforcement are tough, and that the big-time managers don't have impunity.
Furthermore, they can claim that he was just the rare bad apple. Cross posted from the Health Care Renewal website.
I just found an important article that in the June, issue of the Medical Journal of Australia 1 that sums up many of ways the leadership of medical and most other organizations have gone wrong. It provides a clear, organized summary of "managerialism" in health care, which roughly rolls up what we have called generic management , the manager's coup d'etat , and aspects of mission-hostile management into a very troubling but coherent package.
I will summarize the main points, giving relevant quotes. Many health practitioners will consider the theory of business management to be of obscure relevance to clinical practice. They might therefore be surprised to learn that the changes that have occurred in this discipline over recent years have driven a fundamental revolution that has already transformed their daily lives, arguably in perverse and harmful ways. See our previous discussions of the anechoic effect , how discussion of facts and ideas that threaten what we can now call the managerialist power structure of health care are not considered appropriate for polite conversation, or public discussion.
The traditional control by business owners in Europe and North America gave way during the 19th century to corporate control of companies. This led to the emergence of a new group of professionals whose job it was to perform the administrative tasks of production. Consequently, management became identified as both a skill and a profession in its own right, requiring specific training and based on numerous emergent theories of practice.
Among these many vicissitudes, a decisive new departure occurred with the advent of what became known as neoliberalism in the s sometimes called Thatcherism because of its enthusiastic adoption by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom. A reaction against Keynesian economic policy and the welfare state, this harshly reinstated the regulatory role of the market in all aspects of economic activity and led directly to the generalisation of the standards and practices of management from the private to the public sectors. The radical cost cutting and privatisation of social services that followed the adoption of neoliberal principles became a public policy strategy rigorously embraced by governments around the world, including successive Liberal and Labor governments in Australia.
Note that this is a global problem, at least of English speaking developed countries. Further, note that we have discussed this concept, also termed market fundamentalism or economism. The particular system of beliefs and practices defining the roles and powers of managers in our present context is what is referred to as managerialism.
This is defined by two basic tenets: i that all social organisations must conform to a single structure; and ii that the sole regulatory principle is the market. This article argues that though women born in the long s experienced an expansion in educational and occupational opportunities, these opportunities were largely in gender segregated jobs within the welfare state.
These same jobs were hit hard by the depreciation in working-conditions that occurred from the late s onwards. By foregrounding female experience , the article also aims to demonstrate that the shifts in public sector employment enacted by successive Conservative governments constituted a process of de-professionalization which principally impacted women workers. This demonstrates the adaptability of gendered inequality. De-professionalization had such profound implications that it deserves to be considered alongside de-industrialization as one of the key explanatory processes of late twentieth-century Britain and the neoliberal project; doing so would mark a shift away from the masculinised narratives of work that dominate contemporary history.
By foregrounding female experience, the article also aims to demonstrate that the shifts in public sector employment engendered by Conservative governments constituted a process of de-professionalization which principally impacted women workers. This challenges the masculinised narratives of work which dominate the historiography of late twentieth-century Britain. On average the interviews lasted about two hours.
Methods of recruitment were varied but included: adverts in local newsletters, emails to institutions and attendance at community centre events.
Policies, Practices, and Social Problems
By the time of our interviews around half had experienced social mobility across the life course, primarily upwards from manual working-class to lower professional middle-class. Working for the welfare state often functioned as the main instrument of this social mobility and all but one of the women I interviewed were employed by the state in some form for at least part of their careers even though this was not a criterion of participation in the project. We know very little ab out the lives of women of this generation beyond the mids, in part due to the activism paradigm which directs the historiography.
This victory empowered her government to enact a sweeping programme of welfare state reform which was previously feared too radical. It then considers each of the three aspects of de-professionalization in turn. A report produced by Richard Parry, showed that there was a 1. Five of the women in my sample had worked in public sector clerical jobs. This article focuses primarily on the women working in professional capacities, but also uses the narratives of these clerical workers to show that de-professionalization produced a ripple effect in the public sector which altered the conditions of the administrative staff.
The Conservative government sought to review and restructure the health and education systems, but deliberately chose not to seek the views of professionals in order to do so. They not only expressed disdain for an expansive welfare state but also for the professionals who worked for it.
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Elizabeth b. Having trained as a nurse in the late s, by the s Sandra had worked her way up to a position which she enjoyed in a regional health authority. Alice b. Alice elaborated:. Managers were considered an important mechanism for ensuring the dissemination of technocratic expertise and compliance amongst staff with the reform agenda. They wanted both more layers of management and certain positions- such as that of head teacher- to be reconceptualised as management. Carol b. Carol worked in the child protection aspect of social work, doing pre-birth risk assessments in hospitals.
I was going around crying all the time. Rita had a difficult experience, given only a temporary contract and feeling that she was often ignored or talked over in meetings and male peers got different treatment even if voicing a similar issue. This loss of autonomy was fundamental to the process of de-professionalization. Women of this generation described this in immense detail in their interviews because they had often worked in the welfare state both before and during and sometimes after the policy shifts. They believed there was faith in their ability and they were often left alone to carry out their duties.
Cynthia b. This is striking when comparing the white paper Better Schools with the survey of the education system All Our Future. The latter features voices of students and the meaning of results is problematized rather than taken as objective truth of ability of either pupils or teachers. Maureen recalled as an especially difficult year because it was the first inspection she experienced under the new regime. She and her colleagues found the whole process overwhelming:. This reduction in conditions can be viewed as a form of downwards occupational mobility even if they stayed in the same employment and meant the risk of moving jobs often felt worth taking.