Friday, 21 December 2007

From 'experts' in talking to experts in walking

Finally, in USA voices are being raised about the damage wrought on the economy and country in general from the rise and unchecked influence (even in the White House) of Professional Manager as a panacea. The book The Puritan Gift: Triumph, Collapse and Revival of an American Dream by Ken Hopper and Will Hopper was just portrayed on BBC World Service.

As I have not read it, but only peaked into it with the help of Amazon, I can only say that it gives me great hope one can start to have a proper conversation about the damage Taylorism and unrelentless push for achieving simple numerical targets by UK Government are causing to all our public services. Unfortunately, civil service is both complacent and emasculated. Yet, similarly to US, the voices of dissent are being heard from the military.

From Amazon:

"The best thing about The Puritan Gift is that it is a real book, full of fascinating insights, intellectual rigour and challenging, authoritative arguments that remind us that there is nothing new about the responsibilities of management." - Richard Donkin, Financial Times

Book Description
The Puritan Gift traces the origins and the characteristics of American managerial culture which, in the course of three centuries, would turn a group of small colonies into the greatest economic and political power on earth. It was the Protestant ethic whose characteristics--thrift, a respect for enquiry, individualism tempered by a need to cooperate, success as a measure of divine approval--helped to create the conditions which led to America's managerial and corporate success. Thus, the authors contend, the drive, energy and acceptance of innovation, competition, growth and social mobility, all have their origins in the discipline and ethos of America's first wave of European immigrants: the Puritans. And, the authors warn, as Americans distance themselves from core values which produced their nineteenth and twentieth century business and economic successes, they endanger the basis for their prosperity and security.

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