the complexity of capitalism

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@alaindebotton: “Academia: an invention of genius to keep the brightest, most enquiring minds from tampering with the status quo. Paddocks for intellectuals.”

Is Teal the new Black? Probably Not

“I suspect that the clean, uncomplicated notions put forward in the book [Organizing for Complexity, by Frédéric Laloux] will be undone by context, the actual details of implementation and to a large extent power-dynamics (for example, autocratic ‘Teal’ leaders making ‘non-Teal’ people do things they don’t want to do). In other words, I’m not sure I actually believe Teal even exists. I’m not sure I believe any of the ‘stages of development’ actually exist.

I believe the colour schema is an instrument, a not very accurate map. And like all instruments it appeals to a certain instrumental logic, one that craves a simpler world and shies away from complexity. In my opinion, this cognitive style mostly serves to distract from the important questions of who we are and what type of organizations we want to be creating.”

Against Ride Sharing, via @kevindoylejones

“Regardless of whether the self-driving paradise could ever arrive, would it be possible, even imaginable, to make it a subject of democratic deliberation, rather than one more feature of a society incapable of controlling its corporations? Do we want an entire transportation order at the mercy of the ride-sharing companies? Can the idea that we should control how we move through a city be made a matter of public policy? Can we think for a moment about whether, in our heart of hearts, we want the private sector undoing every law, every social compact, that stands in its way, in order to secure, at last, the data that tells them how each of us moves and breathes? We must recognize that there is no situation in which the ride-sharing companies will be sated, short of total monopoly; and that any impediment to their order they will seek to circumvent or remove, as they already have. To stop even part of their plan from coming to pass, we will have to do much more than delete apps, however bad, and replace CEOs, however loathsome. Regulators have more than enough capacity to destroy ride-sharing, and activists can force the issue. What Uber and its ride-sharing fraternity want cannot exist alongside a democratic society; only one vision can prevail.”

How could we cope if capitalism failed? Ask 26 Greek factory workers, via @juneholley

“For a start, no one is boss. There is no hierarchy, and everyone is on the same wage. Factories traditionally work according to a production-line model, where each person does one- or two-minute tasks all day, every day: you fit the screen, I fix the protector, she boxes up the iPhone. Here, everyone gathers at 7am for a mud-black Greek coffee and a chat about what needs to be done. Only then are the day’s tasks divvied up. And, yes, they each take turns to clean the toilets … Where the state has collapsed, the market has come up short and the boss class has literally fled, these 26 workers are attempting to fill the gaps. These are people who have been failed by capitalism; now they reject capitalism itself as a failure.”

Understanding Complexity, via @pourquoi

“So the most important thing about Complexity is that there is no way to learn (and thus solving the problem) without doing. Just thinking about it isn’t going to solve it. In Complex problems our practices are always evolving based on what we learn. In poker, even if we would play a game with the exact players with the exact same cards would turn out differently, because we learned things not just about the game, but certainly about our opponents.”

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