Who made economics?

November 27, 2013

Originally posted on Understanding Society:


The discipline of economics has a high level of intellectual status, even hegemony, in today’s social sciences — especially in universities in the United States. It also has a very specific set of defining models and theories that distinguish between “good” and “bad” economics. This situation suggests two topics for research: how did political economy and its successors ascend to this position of prestige in the social sciences? And how did this particular mix of techniques, problems, mathematical methods, and exemplar theoretical papers come to define the mainstream discipline? How did this governing disciplinary matrix develop and win the field?

One of the most interesting people taking on questions like these is Marion Fourcade. Her Economists and Societies: Discipline and Profession in the United States, Britain, and France, 1890s to 1990s  was discussed in an earlier post (link). An early place where she expressed her views on these…

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Feminism: We are not calling for equal inequality

November 26, 2013

‘Hard working people’ doesn’t work for me…

September 30, 2013

Originally posted on Paul Bernal's Blog:

There are few expressions that annoy me more than ‘hard working people’ – and few that we hear more in the current political climate. There are so many things wrong with it that it’s hard to know where to start…

What is ‘work’?

That the first question for me. What is ‘work’? What does it mean to work ‘hard’? Is paid work the only work that counts – because that’s the way that it often sounds. Certainly the implication is that housework, caring for kids, caring for relatives, for older people, for people who are sick or disabled, doesn’t ‘count’ – and yet for anyone who’s ever done much of that (and I doubt that many of the people who roll out the trite expression ‘hardworking people’ have ever experienced much of this) it’s every bit as ‘hard’ as any kind of paid work, every bit as stressful, every bit…

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Stigmergic collaboration: A theoretical framework for mass collaboration

September 28, 2013

Originally posted on Out on a Leadership Lim:

Continuing work on my 5th competency:  Servant Leadership in Technology Facilitation and Collaboration.

Elliott, M. A. (2007). Stigmergic collaboration: A theoretical framework for mass collaboration (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Melbourne, 2007). Retrieved from http://mark-elliott.net/blog/?page_id=24

Notes (instead of a summary)

This work is incredible, detailed, and presented in an attractive way. I feel that I can’t do it justice, but here are a few notes.

Definitions: “Collaboration is the process of two or more people collectively creating emergent, shared representations of a process and or outcome that reflects the input of the total body of contributors” (Elliott, 2007, p. 31).
“co-created emergent shared representation” (p. 45).
“Stigmergy is a class of behavior in which collective activity is coordinated through the individuals’ response to and modification of their local environment—one agent’s modification becomes another’s cue (p. 8). (swarm intelligence)

Some principles: Non zero sum outcome (i.e. win win)
Includes creative activity…

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Does Your Boss Care About You?

September 2, 2013

Originally posted on Think Different:

Does Your Boss Care About You?


More specifically, does your boss, or company as a whole, care about your state of mind? About your levels of motivation and engagement?

I can only assume, from both personal experiences and from numerous recent studies into the high levels of disengagement and demotivation of employees in businesses, that the answer is generally a resounding “No!”.

Abdication, Absolution and Blame

I’ve often felt that organisations I’ve worked with don’t give a damn about their folks’ state of mind – mine included. Moreover, it seems a widespread condition to regard an employee’s motivation and level of engagement as something each employee is entirely responsible for, on their own. And thus that disengaged employees are themselves to blame for their state of disengagement. With the likely and direct remedy of simply letting them go (firing them or, more passively – and more commonly – waiting until…

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Meganews – a new magazine publishing model ?

August 26, 2013

Originally posted on ricoheuropebusinessdriver:

Recently in Stockholm we launched perhaps the ultimate Print on Demand Publishing solution.  Meganews is a revolutionary new concept which brings magazines to consumers.

The Meganews concept

Artist's impression of Meganews in action

Artist’s impression of Meganews in action

Meganews is an unmanned newspaper vending machine with internet access that prints, in real-time, a copy of the magazine you have selected. You purchase your magazine ​​through screens on the kiosk and pay by credit card. It only takes two minutes from making your purchase until a freshly printed magazine drops down the hatch.

At launch, consumers can choose from over 200 magazines and journals.


The Meganews kiosk

The Meganews kiosk

The Swedish journalist and TV profile Lars Adaktusson, his brother Hans and their company Mega News Sweden came up with the idea. Behind the software, the card terminal and the screens is the technology consultant company Sweco.

The industry design company LA + B has designed the news stand.

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The MLK Imperative in an Era of “No Excuses”

August 24, 2013

Originally posted on the becoming radical:

My father was a hard-ass, €”a Southern version of the Red Forman-type made popular in That 70′s Show. I grew up, then, in a “no excuses” environment rooted in the 1950s work ethic my father personified. [1]*

Mine was a working-class background: My paternal grandfather (for whom I was named) ran the small-town gas station where I grew up, and my maternal grandfather worked in the yarn mills in the hills of North Carolina.

Way before the “no excuses” ideology consumed the education reform movement of the 21st century, “no excuses” ruled my childhood and teen years. My behavior at home and school? No excuses. My academic achievement? No excuses.

Two important realizations, however, stem from that childhood and young adulthood of mine.

First, most of my academic, scholarly, and personal success occurred in spite of (not because of) that “no excuses” upbringing.

And second, in retrospect I recognize…

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Mobilize 2013: Making the case for a shared bandwidth future

August 21, 2013

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Let’s face it: Most of us in the U.S. live in world revolving around two broadband poles. We have access to cheap, plentiful bandwidth at home, and we have access to cheap, plentiful bandwidth at work. But everywhere in between broadband access is often limited, expensive or not available at all.

Yet at any given locale in any populated area of the U.S. there can be dozens if not hundreds of potential connections around us, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or cellular networks. We don’t tap into all of those potential connections because we don’t “own” them. They belong to the homes or businesses running those Wi-Fi routers, to the device owner hiding his Bluetooth link, or to the mobile carriers operating networks you don’t subscribe to. We live in a world with enormous amounts of potential bandwidth, but also one with strictly enforced constraints on who can use it.Crowd density dense network feature

“We’ve been…

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BPM vs. BPMS: How To Think Big and Act Small

August 20, 2013

Originally posted on Welcome to the Real (IT) World!:

Before I get into the actual HOW-TO part, let me reiterate another perspective as to why current BPM approaches and/or BPMS are so lacking. Rather than being upset about my critical observations, the BPM community should use the opportunity for discussion (TED: Dare to Disagree) and try to validate and prove BPM theory. Therefore I do not understand the lack of response after I provided a simple formula two years ago as to why flow-charted processes won’t deliver BPM benefits in a larger business. Not a single expert or vendor has brought forward a single counter-statement. Does that not make you wonder?

There is on the other hand a huge library of books, white papers, blogs and seminar programs of how to implement BPM in large corporations. They all boil down to a few key messages that are repeated over and over again with no more than anecdotal proof…

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The Surprisingly Large Energy Footprint of the Digital Economy [UPDATE]

August 18, 2013

Originally posted on Science & Space:

Which uses more electricity: the iPhone in your pocket, or the refrigerator humming in your kitchen? Hard as it might be to believe, the answer is probably the iPhone. As you can read in a post on a new report by Mark Mills — the CEO of the Digital Power Group, a tech- and investment-advisory firm — a medium-size refrigerator that qualifies for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star rating will use about 322 kW-h a year. The average iPhone, according to Mills’ calculations, uses about 361 kW-h a year once the wireless connections, data usage and battery charging are tallied up. And the iPhone — even the latest iteration — doesn’t even keep your beer cold. (Hat tip to the Breakthrough Institute for noting the report first.)

[UPDATE: You can see the calculations behind the specific iPhone comparison, which was done by Max Luke of the Breakthrough…

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