Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Brian Romanchuk — Helicopter Money Is Just A Bureaucratic Power Grab


Technocracy to replace democracy, or, better, the remnant of democracy. This is a command system.
Although "Helicopter Money" debate is clouded in economist mysticism about money, the underlying debate revolves around the role of the technocrats in setting public policy.
I would also add that most of these technocrats either come directly from the financial sector or represent its interests indirectly. Technocracy is no substitute for fiscal policy based on democratic representation.

Bond Economics
Helicopter Money Is Just A Bureaucratic Power Grab
Brian Romanchuk

Also

The Case for Concerted Action
We Don’t Need No [Stinkin'] Helicopters … Hey! Economists! Leave Fiscal Policy Alone
V. Ramanan

I added the "stinking'. tjh

71 comments:

Bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob said...

Off topic: What are your thoughts on Patrick M. Woods' work on the technocracy movement and its influence today?

https://www.amazon.ca/Technocracy-Rising-Trojan-Global-Transformation/dp/0986373907

Tom Hickey said...

Technocracy is just a euphemism for elite rule. It's standard conservatism — some are better than others.

Andrew Anderson said...

It's standard conservatism — some are better than others. Tom Hickey

Yes. But then why do Progressives support a money system whereby the poor, the least so-called creditworthy, are forced* to lend to depository institutions and thereby lower the borrowing costs of the rich, the most so-called creditworthy?


*or else be limited to inconvenient, unsafe physical fiat.

Tom Hickey said...

why do Progressives support….

Because US progressives are millionaires in waiting.

Andrew Anderson said...

Because US progressives are millionaires in waiting.

That or power hungry and desire to direct the flow of private credit via "regulation."

Or under some kind of spiritual delusion. Yves Smith called the idea of central bank accounts for all "balmy." She said the central bank has been and every will be only for banks. An argument from tradition from a Progressive!

Tom Hickey said...

There is little appetite among progressives for actual change. Progressives just want some tweaks.

The pressure for actual change is only coming from the right toward less government and limiting what government there is.

Andrew Anderson said...

... toward less government and limiting what government there is. Tom Hickey

Except that would freeze in place existing unjust wealth inequality. Let's fix that first and then there will be far less need for government.

But who knows what justice is when supposed Christians ignore or explain away the social justice provisions of the Old Testament (eg. Leviticus 25)?

Bob said...

Technocracy was a movement in the 1920s-30s:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocracy_movement

If today's technocrats were to come put with a form of money based on energy credits, that would be proof of a link to the original movement. What is amazing is the original movement was critical of the 'price system' and argued for its abolishment.

Random said...

"power hungry and desire to direct the flow of private credit via "regulation.""

Oh well. Being power hungry is better than being a shill for the vulture capitalist class :)

Or maybe we just disagree slightly.

Banking helps prevent the concentration of equity in society. If I want to start a business and the bank won't lend, then I have to find a rich person and sell them most of my business to get the money necessary to get it going. That turns me from an entrepreneur with ownership into an unpaid lackey dancing to the tune of the Vulture Capitalist class.

That credit worthy people have privileges is a big problem - but that's why banks have to be narrowed on the asset side, not the liability side. What banks lend for and whom they lend it to matters.

Any lending businesses that doesn't want to take the oath to do just capital development lending, then has to fully fund their lending on a maturity matched basis Zopa style. No deposit insurance, no access to the Bank of England, and losses absorbed by those doing the lending.

Trying to do the 'market forces' trick just puts the price of borrowing sky high. Which is bad for the capital development of the economy.

The amount of state money injected is limited by demand - as determined by a highly distributed set of underwriters locally on the ground varying interest rates to suit local conditions and their own profitability vs the competition from fully match funded lenders.

That is a flexible system that can respond rapidly to changes in circumstances and is infinitely superior to a cabal trying to work out how much the economy requires by applying the Wisdom of Solomon that they don't really have.

"supposed Christians ignore or explain away the social justice provisions of the Old Testament (eg. Leviticus 25)?"

Doesn't apply. I am a wicked agnostic atheist.

Tom Hickey said...

A real technocracy is a command economy. Contemporary central banker technocracy is the same.

A real technocracy probably won't be fully viable until AI is more advanced, but there is no reason that it could not be more efficient and effective then a market economy. It's just a matter of developing the technology and it's virtually certain that as the digital age progresses this will be the direction — just one time production, just one time delivery — all based on "big data" in real time.

Tom Hickey said...

Should be just ON TIME production, just ON TIME delivery

Bob said...

Technocracy Inc. was in favor of rule by scientists and engineers, not rule by morons.

They still exist!
http://www.technocracyinc.org

Bob said...

Patrick M. Woods is arguing that those ideals are behind NWO schemes, perhaps well-meaning in their objectives but authoritarian none-the-less.

Andrew Anderson said...

Any lending businesses that doesn't want to take the oath to do just capital development lending, ... Random

Such as for the development of more automation to disemploy even more workers with their own legally stolen purchasing power?

Or is neo-Ludditism part of your solution too?

Andrew Anderson said...

If I want to start a business and the bank won't lend, then I have to find a rich person and sell them most of my business to get the money necessary to get it going. Random

Just abolishing government-provided deposit insurance should require the distribution of billions, if not trillions, in new fiat equally to all citizens.

Plus, per Leviticus 25, land reform is called for too. Plus debt forgiveness in a way that does not disadvantage non-debtors is also required by justice.

Plus entirely private banks with entirely voluntary depositors would still exist. Borrow from them if you still need capital. Or issue shares in equity.

Andrew Anderson said...

Trying to do the 'market forces' trick just puts the price of borrowing sky high. Random

Equal fiat distributions to all citizens should be able to drive real interest rates to near zero.

Random said...

"development of more automation to disemploy even more workers with their own legally stolen purchasing power?

Or is neo-Ludditism part of your solution too?"

Only if you think 'jobs' only come from the private sector - even though automating everything and eliminating jobs is the only way to improve productivity in the private sector.

That is solved simply by just hiring the unemployed to do stuff.

A job is work that other people consider useful. Work is leisure you get paid to do. It's very simple to solve the problem once you take the blinkers off.

Andrew Anderson said...

That is solved simply by just hiring the unemployed to do stuff. Random

What stuff? Work the "unemployed" consider meaningful such as raising their families or make-work created largely to justify the wages paid and/or to train and discipline new wage slaves for the private sector?

I'm for a BIG. You?

Andrew Anderson said...

Actually, the purpose of a JG is to pay people to waste their time so they can't bid wages down in the private sector. It's similar to milk dumping in the 1930's.

Tom Hickey said...

Patrick M. Woods is arguing that those ideals are behind NWO schemes, perhaps well-meaning in their objectives but authoritarian none-the-less.

I agree. It's an elite agenda hidden behind a specious argument about expertise. This is really the basis of the rationale for neoliberal globalization.

Random said...

"purpose of a JG is to pay people to waste their time"

There is no limit to human kindness. Work is simply love made visible.

There is tons of stuff we can do. You just to expand the definition of ‘work.’ For example open source programming, teaching assistants, social care, environmental work, street art, looking after allotments, dial-a-ride, maintenance of parks and museums, yes even looking after your own children. We would have to sample local areas and see what needs doing, and then create jobs fitted to people near where they live.

Andrew Anderson said...

No need to create jobs, just pay people and they'll find their own meaningful, by definition, work to do - assuming they have other resources such as land, etc. to do it with.

Justice is what we need, not some pragmatic "solution" akin to government-provided deposit insurance instead of genuine equal protection under the law.

Random said...

Everybody loves a bung and no doubt there is wild support for getting paid for not having to do anything yourself.

It's when you ask about *others* getting paid for not having to do anything that attitudes harden. There the majority is clearly solidly against the idea.

It's not about you. It's about what others think of you and what you are doing. You might hate that idea. However that is not going to change how the majority think. In a society you will be *judged by others* and a great many people are not very good at doing the necessary PR on what they do. They need help with that, and that is why you need a Job Guarantee.

Random said...

Take a look at the effects of income guarantee on the retired:

http://www.care2.com/causes/is-retirement-really-bad-for-
your-health.html

Andrew Anderson said...

It's when you ask about *others* getting paid for not having to do anything that attitudes harden. Random

So paying people to waste their time will be more popular?

And what about the rich? Aren't many of them paid for doing nothing?

Random said...

That is the reality on the ground. Deal with it. Take a look at Swiss vote on the income guarantee.

Andrew Anderson said...

Take a look at the effects of income guarantee on the retired: Randon

That link is about retirement, not a BIG.

Yes, work is important. But work does not require a job nor do jobs necessarily do any positive work. The retired should do meaningful work to stay healthy and piss off those who wish them to die soon, ie. neoliberals.

Andrew Anderson said...

That is the reality on the ground. Random

Being a believer, I believe in change and in patience.

The system SHALL be changed and I'll keep fighting till it is or I'm gone (Raptured or dead).

The Swiss can vote again and again and again, if necessary. Justice cannot be denied forever.

Random said...

I admire your guts. Don't give up bro!

Kaivey said...

I hated work, it took to too much time and left me exhausted. I was just living for work. I was making someone else rich, and although I had money (because I spent too much time at work) my live felt like poverty, it wasn't enriched or fulfilling. Apart from some beer at the weekends, life became pleasureless.

Then I became ill with fibromyalgia and couldn't work anymore but then I found out I had enough in my pension to retire. My company paid me to go too, as they could see that I would never be that effective again. They can't sack you for being average, and they can't sack you for not wanting to do any overtime, but companies don't want average, and they want their employees to spend as long as is needed at work to get the job done. They want your life, and when you have a big mortgage you are their slave, and you are a sleeve to the mortgage provider too. The ruling class have turned you into a slave.

So it was cheaper for my company to just to let me go as I intended to never do overtime again, and so it meant employing more staff.

In a libertarian state they could have just sacked me with no pay off, I would lost my home and gone through enormous stress. Or I would carried on working at work until worse physical illness struck me. The libertarian state is fascism, rule by the rich and powerful subjugating everyone else, a brutal system, not freedom at all.

Now I don't work I enjoy doing all those DIY jobs around the house that never got done before. And I have applied to do some voluntary work in the countryside too as I love being outdoors. So now work had finally become a pleasure, like it should have been.

It clicked with me when you said that work should be leisure. Just an interesting and fulfilling thing to do.

Matt Franko said...

" some are better than others."

Some ARE better than others Tom...

Matt Franko said...

Mervyn King: "But my experience at the Bank also revealed the inadequacies of the ‘models’ – whether verbal descriptions or mathematical equations "

They should be considered "FUNCTIONS"...

Then here: "For over two centuries, economists have struggled to provide a rigorous theoretical basis for the role of money, "

The word "money" is a figure of speech and thus non-specific... in science we should seek to be as specific as possible...

Only morons seek a "General Theory of Money!"....

Andrew Anderson said...

Some ARE better than others Tom... Franko

But not the ones who think they are:

Proverbs 11:12 He who despises his neighbor lacks sense, But a man of understanding keeps silent.

Proverbs 14:21 He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.

etc., etc., etc., etc. ...

Andrew Anderson said...

Kaivey,

Yep. Work is good, jobs not so much at all. Economic justice would mean we could all do much more work without being encumbered with jobs.

Btw, if you can find the guts to do one (not that I have them again yet*!), water fasting can cure fibromyalgia: http://www.gaianstudies.org/articles4.htm


*But in the past I was desperate enough to go 17 days twice with ONLY water. Just so you know it can be done.

Bob said...

I'd rather work than face the shame of being on social assistance.

Andrew Anderson said...

I'd rather work than face the shame of being on social assistance. Bob

When robots are doing 90% of the jobs will you still feel that way?

Also, you are conflating having a job with working when the two are not necessarily the same.

Also, the rich are or have been on public assistance given that they are the most so-called creditworthy of what is, by virtue of extensive privileges for the banks, etc., essentially the PUBLIC'S CREDIT.

Tom Hickey said...

Some ARE better than others Tom...

That's a truism on one hand but not on the other (as liberals interpret it).

The fundamental principle of liberalism is that "all are created equal" as human person but differ as individuals. This is the basis for the role of law, equality before the law, absence of privilege, equal justice, and equal rights.

No one denies that individuals are different, e.g., in talent and ability.

The conservative argument is that this contradicts the liberal principle of equality of persons and absence of privilege. Those that are "better" as individuals (ability, performance) deserve more as persons (privilege).

On this thinking, democracy is flawed and and "those who won a country should govern the country (meritocracy, just deserts). The experts in finance should run the treasury and central bank. Experts in management should run the administration of the country. Lawyers should make the laws and control the legal and judicial system, etc.

Again we arrive at a fundamental paradox of liberalism, namely, that government of, by and for the people (popular sovereignty, real democracy) is not compatible with meritocracy and just deserts.

The conservative argument is, no problem. The people who are most qualified will be pursuing their own interest unintentionally in the hight level manner possible and this will spontaneously generate optimal results for all in all areas (greatest good for the greatest number).

History does not bear that assumption out.

Tom Hickey said...

I'd rather work than face the shame of being on social assistance.

Shame is the result of shaming aka laying your trip on others aka being a control freak. Shaming people on social assistance is a psychological aberration.

Andrew Anderson said...

Those that are "better" as individuals (ability, performance) deserve more as persons (privilege). Tom Hickey

Maybe so but not via government privilege. If they are so superior then they should not need ANY privileges from government and should be too proud to accept any anyway.

On this thinking, democracy is flawed and and "those who won a country should govern the country (meritocracy, just deserts). Tom Hickey

The assumption there is that they won fairly or that fairness does not matter. If they are claiming the latter then why shouldn't the 99% win anyway they can?

But obviously they did not win fairly since our money and credit system favors the relatively rich simply because they are relatively rich.

Bob said...

Shaming people on social assistance is a psychological aberration.

It's also how the welfare system is designed.

Andrew Anderson said...

But obviously they did not win fairly since our money and credit system favors the relatively rich simply because they are relatively rich. aa

Btw, Alexander Graham Bell, a most worthy man from what I know, often was short of money and even starved at times to continue his experiments.

So why wasn't Bell creditworthy while a rich person automatically was simply because the rich person could secure the loan with collateral?

Yes, even with 100% private banks and 100% voluntary depositors, the rich will STILL be the most so-called worthy of private credit but at least people like Bell and the non-rich in general will not be subsidizing the loans.

Tom Hickey said...

It's also how the welfare system is designed.

It's how a sick, dysfunctional society is created based on the principle of blaming the victim. More conservatism run amok.

Andrew Anderson said...

It's how a sick, dysfunctional society is created based on the principle of blaming the victim. Tom Hickey

With our money and credit system the choices are: be a victimizer or be a victim or both to varying degrees with the poorest the most victimized and the richest the least victimized.

Bob said...

When robots are doing 90% of the jobs will you still feel that way?

No, but I'll likely be dead by then.

Also, you are conflating having a job with working when the two are not necessarily the same.

Society expects us to support ourselves, so that means paid work or a paid job.

Andrew Anderson said...

Society expects us to support ourselves, so that means paid work or a paid job. bob

Unless you're rich by whatever means including inheritance or looting the poor via loans as a so-called creditworthy person or company.

Bob said...

Unless you're rich by whatever means including inheritance or looting the poor via loans as a so-called creditworthy person or company.

Yes, that is referred to as class.
Most businesses don't care where their customers get their money, but there are a few exceptions:
http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/welfare-queens-furious-after-this-grocery-store-posts-this-sign/

Bob said...

Okay, so that one was a prank. Oops.

Andrew Anderson said...

Okay, so that one was a prank. bob

You should send that link to Naked Capitalism so they can post it under "Guillotine Watch".

As for welfare queens have you not figured out who they are yet?

Bob said...

Welfare queens: The Koch brothers?
Comedy queens: The Smothers brothers

What is guillotine watch?

Andrew Anderson said...

What is guillotine watch? bob

Lambert posts it under his daily "2:00PM Water Cooler" articles.

jrbarch said...

‘Round and round the merry-go-round
The monkey chased the weasel
The monkey stopped to pull up his socks
Pop goes the weasel’


A human being is rich when they ’feel’ rich.

Even Paris Hilton cried when she went to prison. So, nothing to do with $money or social position. And which one is ‘better’ – monkey or weasel? Both are living compost, just like the billions and billions of human beings that come and go on this earth. What have we done to be proud of – there is not a good track record among our ‘exceptional’ people. Of what value is human existence? Do we know? There is only one thing that makes you significant.

The rich eat caviar and the poor eat fish: - the end result is excrement. When you see a human being you should see a brother, you should see yourself, and tenderly; otherwise all you see is your stupid mind. When you see clearly, then you will be rich. For anyone with their eyes wide open, this world is full of illusion, glamour, maya – it is skin deep. And the exceptional ones are right up there, with their fingers on a nuclear trigger. Talk about a death wish.

Where there is ignorance (a vacuum) arrogance rushes in. There is your better than others.

Bob said...

Some are better than others... in technical expertise. Hence the idea of a North American Technate, run according to scientific principles and utilizing energy accounting in place of a price system.

The Conservative mindset extends this to other spheres of life. Some are better than others... in intelligence, beauty, maturity, bravery, , etc.

And there is a psychological/emotional component:
Pretending that you or your peer group are better than others can bring feelings of pleasure. So it's not surprising that some are tempted to engage in this type of comparison.

Tom Hickey said...

It's traditionally called "vanity and being seduced by the "glamor of the world."

A current manifestation is popular absorption with celebrity. (Donald Trump is a celebrity candidate, as Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzeneggar also were.)

Bob said...

Celebrities don't impress me. I like Arnold because he's likable and the characters he plays are likable. Maybe he's an ass in real life - I wouldn't know and it wouldn't matter. Unless he huffs kittens.

Bob said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superiority_complex

A portal to the rabbit hole of the human psyche, which leads to a warren.

jrbarch said...

”Some are better than others... in technical expertise... in intelligence, beauty, maturity, bravery, etc.”

I think that is exactly where we go wrong Bob, when we pull out our little measuring sticks. Looking at the differences only, instead of including the similarities and most significantly, the potential. Of course there are degrees. And we love to measure everything. BUT, as you say - are we really measuring an abstract quality, or ‘measuring up’ one another, feeding as Tom notes, vanity (or contra wise jealousy). Is a highly technically trained female fighter-jet pilot, intelligent, beautiful, mature, and brave, a better human being than a simple peasant farm girl? I don’t know. I don’t have a measuring stick for that, and I don’t think anyone else has either.

For me, when you are born, that’s it! You have won the jackpot! You HAVE the ultimate gift! All of human potential is contained in that gift – it’s just a matter of feeding it, appreciating it. Unless some idiot comes along and makes life impossible to live. Jetfighters strafing villages comes to mind.

I have looked at human beings and I have seen the same beauty, intelligence, bravery, anger, foolishness, jealousy, laughter, tears, responsibility and irresponsibility, in everyone – and myself. There are degrees, but the exact same potential is there, for everything. I just wish we would use our intelligence more. There is an old story: - in us there are two wolves, one is good, one is bad. Everything depends upon which one we feed. In this world, we think bad is ‘The Normal’. We are conditioned to it – good little social robots. We think peace is impossible. That is because we feed the wrong wolf.

There is absolutely no measuring stick in this world that can measure Love. For me, if humanity really wants to measure itself, then let it stand beside Love - see what our intelligence can do with that: - because most of the time when we measure it is to divide, separate, hate, create unnatural divisions that do not occur in nature, and are not a reflection of our true nature - because somehow the O, C, H, N, Ca, P, out of which we are all created is ‘exceptional in me’. Which wolf do we want to feed in this world? The seeds of today’s struggles were sown thousands of years ago and have multiplied, born fruit and seeded again – does anyone really think it will stop growing, unless we do something about it.

There is nothing that war has ever achieved that could not have been better achieved by peace. So, this is why I think we have to be very careful. Yes, we can take out our little measuring sticks and measure what we nominate as e.g. intelligence – except perhaps we have defined intelligence in a narrow range. But then that little thing creeps in where it is said: ‘therefore, this human being is superior, and ergo, this one inferior’ (as per Bob’s superiority complex link). This is where wars begin, in the mind, in the differences (but never the similarities and the potential) and they spill out into the physical world. Is that ‘intelligence’?

The bad wolf captures mind, hardens it and makes it exclusive, greedy, arrogant; the ego becomes cancerous. The good wolf allies itself with the heart and makes mind very broad and inclusive. It listens to the quest of the human heart.

So, I don’t think it is the measurements that matter; it’s more the wolf we feed, the bad wolf treating human life as disposable trash, or pretending some are other than human, without potential, without the same humanity that is in all. It howls in the wilderness and haunts the world. We have fallen in love with everything that does not deserve it, and can never respond to love, and yet humanity can and does.

I would define ‘intelligence’ as self-knowledge, a potential in any human being, but that’s just me.

Bob said...

I believe there are some comparisons that are best avoided. I can easily find someone who is better than me or worse than me in some regard. But why would I want to do that? What purpose would it serve?

Not everyone wants to live life as if only competition matters. Not everyone wishes to judge the world around them by their trusty measuring stick.

Is a highly technically trained female fighter-jet pilot, intelligent, beautiful, mature, and brave, a better human being than a simple peasant farm girl? I don’t know. I don’t have a measuring stick for that, and I don’t think anyone else has either.

I would say those two women are different. How I relate to them might affect how I judge them or the values that they represent. It is entirely subjective. Our measure of others may say as much about ourselves.

Bob said...

Although a sonic screwdriver might come in handy.

Bob said...

Need to get a conservative in here. Someone who is big on "personal responsibility" and all that jazz. Someone who makes the kind of comparisons we've been alluding to.

Tom Hickey said...

Need to get a conservative in here. Someone who is big on "personal responsibility" and all that jazz. Someone who makes the kind of comparisons we've been alluding to.

The problem with many is that they never saw an incentive they didn't like, as long as the incentives favor their interests, including perverse incentives that favor them and disadvantage others, even society as a whole or other nations. They are selectively myopic..

jrbarch said...

Appreciate your comments Bob. I don't know about sonic screwdriver, but here's a link for your calendar if you have some time/interest to a streamed event, coming up on June 15th, about opening doors in the minds of prison inmates - it's pretty powerful stuff: www.wopg.org/prem-rawat-live-stream-event/

# When I say opening doors, I really mean opening doors!

Bob said...

jrbarch,
I may not be able to watch streams on this connection, but I'll see what i can do.
Sonic screwdriver was a Doctor Who reference ;)

Bob said...

The problem with many is that they never saw an incentive they didn't like, as long as the incentives favor their interests, including perverse incentives that favor them and disadvantage others, even society as a whole or other nations. They are selectively myopic..

As in it's only an entitlement when other people receive it.

jrbarch said...

I’m really bad at subtle humour Bob. Sonic screwdriver .... opening doors ..... Have watched every Dr Who series since the beginning. No prize to guess who the Daleks remind everyone of ....

Matt Franko said...

Look jr none of this is personal its about getting qualified people in the appropriate positions of rule related to our material provisioning systems...

There is this scripture from Paul:

"For it must be that there are sects also among you, that those also who are qualified may be becoming apparent among you." 1 Cor

Which expanded on what the Lord told Israel here:

"Every tree not producing ideal fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.
20 Consequently, from their fruits you shall surely be recognizing them." Mat 7

We cant determine who is best qualified without dividing or separating people out based on what they produce ... and people manifestly exhibit different qualities... people are NOT all the same nor should they be treated as so...

You take all of these idiot economists producing these statements that NEVER turn out to be predictive... these people are manifestly NOT QUALIFIED to be doing the jobs they are in and need to be "hewn down" (figure of speech) .... sorry that is just the way it has to go...

What do you want a world where everybody is the same? No inequality? Boooooooorrrrrrr-ing

Lets take Brian here vs. Bill Mitchell... imo Brian is better qualified to be involved in these matters than Bill as Brian has the better training... nothing against Bill but Brian just has better qualifications at this point...

jrbarch said...

@ Matt

Matt, I agree.
In a Swiss watch one piece is the hour hand, one piece a wheel, one piece the dial. Everything is synchronised to a purpose. The watch was planned, accurate, even down to an audible tick. I would not like to get into an airplane where the pilot announces ‘Hi – I’m a clerk and I will be flying you to your destination today. Have a nice trip’.

All that I am really saying is that people do not see a human being as a human being anymore, how much we lose from that, and a few reasons why it happens.

jrbarch said...

@ Matt

An afterthought by way of anecdote (I think it is really healthy to speculate in the area of teamwork – I worked as an architect):

In architecture the creative process is ideal (vision) >> ideas (planning) >> icon (building). The ideal fulfils some purpose and it has to be kept clearly in sight. This is because the team is diverse, covering many disciplines (architect, engineer, builder, mechanical, landscaper, interior designer, electronics, estimator, accountant etc.); systems within these disciplines; aesthetic elements such as space, light, water, shape, form, texture, colour, human movement and function, building lifetime etc. in a complex task – ‘firmness, commodity and delight’. The danger is people pushing their own barrow or not being up to their role, compromising team efficacy, planning, and even the purpose.

I was fortunate enough to work on some projects where many of the participants had a mutual understanding that ego was not a functional component of the creative process (in fact it is the source of many problems): - whereas the better a role (like a functional part of a Swiss watch) was executed in synchronisation with the whole, the better the project ran and the more enjoyment participants had. The contrast of this creative process with the command structure of say the military and corporations, and the thought of creativity, leaving the ego out of things, has fascinated me ever since. It begins with the ability to share and then cooperate intelligently, with no loss of individuality. Most ‘teamwork’ I see around me today, still involves the whip and bullocks, harnessed to the yore.

Bob said...

May I ask how the creative team were remunerated?
I assume it was less hierarchical as well?

jrbarch said...

That’s the problem with the internet – can’t tell from facial expression whether or not you are being asked a loaded question. :-)

These were smaller projects. The administrative-legal framework continues on as NPO, registered as a Charity and remuneration is scaled to the purpose and actually quite uniform. Some of the work is out-sourced and it’s often eye-opening to see how people ‘go the extra mile’ for a project they trust and agree with.

I don’t want to paint too rosy a picture. You can have a noble purpose, supported entirely by volunteers and volunteer $resources and services, donated skills or modest remuneration (i.e. people making personal sacrifices in terms of remuneration) and efficiencies, prioritising the purpose - but human beings are human beings and it takes effort and focus to hold everything on course. The purpose and a rewarding experience hold everything together. Experience teaches people the experience, captain or no captain. Everyone is still learning how to get along – that doesn’t change.

For me, that’s another way of looking at $money (human energy): public, NPO, private. In a good NPO structure, there is a feeling of teamwork that is not so much ‘hierarchical’ (fear) but more of a feeling of unity and playing a part; it is experienceable; still people’s roles and talents are recognised and appreciated and put to good use. Participants are given a lot of elbow room to do their best (but under kinder review in light of the purpose). I have also worked in public and private structures and not found that unity. There is more $money.

And what does hierarchy mean to any of us? Everyone is trying to control everyone else, and no one likes to be controlled. That’s a human being ...

Bob said...

I appreciate your reply :)

If those questions were loaded, it was in the sense that my favourite analysis of the workplace is Marxian. Having listened to many of Richard Wolff's presentations has biased me further.

I'm not familiar with the culture of a NPO, having never worked in one. This is the first time I can recall reading a description of the internal workings of one. I'm more familiar with the traditional employer/employee arrangement, where the employer seeks profit and the employee seeks a wage. There is a whole set of expectations and incentives that come with it. Prof. Wolff describes what he terms a WSDE - a worker self-directed enterprise. In this model, the workers are the owners, thus their own employers. The distinction between employer/employee and profit/wage becomes blurred, and the internal culture is altered.

I'm still learning what motivates us in the workplace, and there are studies that challenge some of our assumptions. My experience from working in a private, for profit structure is largely negative. Little unity and much rigidity. My experience working for an employer, where I and the employer formed a two person team was more positive. We also got along quite well personally.

All sorts of personalty dynamics and politics going on :O