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Larry Catá Backer
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The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund has been debating active management for years with roughly the same conclusion.
There is a governance issue as well. Having declared a new era of transparency and consultation, the decision makers in this case failed to consult anyone but themselves. Wrote a little about that at the Penn State University Faculty Senate Chair blog: "Removing the Paterno Statue--Statement of President Erickson"
Point well made. But not surprising given the development of legal cultures about the legal effect of the promises of large institutions in this country. A state can seek payment today from people who then accept the risk that tomorrow others may not have to pay to receive the same benefit; an employee may agree to provide labor today for a promise of future benefit knowing that tomorrow that benefit may disappear after labor has been provided. So, after reading the opinion the first thing I thought of was not government but collective bargaining contracts for benefits and wages. It is clear that the courts have come to understand that a company can induce action today on the promise of payment today (wages) and a benefit (pensions or health care, for example) tomorrow. But the company is obligated only to pay what is due and may avoid future payment (for example through bankruptcy and future bargaining). This is not to suggest a direct analogy, only a pattern of thinking from the private sector that may have some resonance here. Like a company (but in reverse perhaps) the government may keep what it collects but may bargain away its right to collect what is not yet due, even if the service has been rendered and the result is uneven. There is a lesson here for both homeowners and labor--for homeowners it is avoid paying now if there is an opportunity to pay later and for labor it is avoid acceptance of payment in the future for services performed in the present. In other cases, what is clear is clear is that there is a lower moral value on promises. As a consequence, the case promises a nice point for future empirical work--will landowners now act rationally in the face of this new set of financial risks in relations with the state.
There is an a-symmetry of information here. If asked I might be willing to provide my password in exchange for those of the members of the hiring committee. I am less worried about snoopy colleagues than nosy administrators. Sadly, though, I would not be surprised to see this coming.
Nice exchange, thanks. My perspective is a little different. Stripping away assumptions about the "normal"--that law students completing their studies in due course are expected to progress to jobs of a certain kind--makes the question of post degree employment more interesting and less rigidly tied to notions of "what is expected." Beyond the surface dynamics--law schools need to protect their reputations and hence their abilities to draw students of a certain caliber to their tuition producing institutions, it might suggest, for example, a recognition that the traditional narrowness of employment market insertion of graduates is skewed by developing realities and that the "bridge employment" provides a means of "re-tooling" for other work. That might be an interesting avenue to explore further. There are likely others. I look forward to further exploration.
Wow indeed; still the pattern of seeking to evidence triumph through of the inversion of signs, from the Cross to "queer" is a strong cultural marker in the West.
Well put Calvin, though I make no judgement about the quality or character of this age (something I leave to doctoral students a century from now. . .and our grandchildren). The point, though is right on. As many industry titans (and our churches) have recently rediscovered--it is the control of the mechanisms that produce cultural and social norms, not those that produce law, that ultimately have the greatest bite. Social engineering through law, the positivist turn in law, of the rightist or leftist variety, without a strong foundation in social norms, may have powerful effect (e.g., Prohibition as a good example) but hardly in the direction intended.
This is truly sad, a great loss for all of us.
Toggle Commented Dec 26, 2011 on Goodbye, Larry at The Faculty Lounge
Excellent and very thoughtful. Greatly appreciated! The issue of morale is generally underrated and tends to be brushed under the carpet. For people who cannot vote with their feet, the only alternative is to "check out." The vicious cycle begins.--where a faculty member assumes no fairness (and shame meritocracy) she will perform only to the extent of the value of expected reward, which of course can then be used by the amoral administrator to justify unfairness, though for the conventional administrator it merely buys the "peace and stability" that ensures contract renewal when the administrator is herself reviewed. It is the rare administrator that tries to balance merit, fairness and transparency, and it rarer still for a faculty, the members of which think that by pleasing their master they might procure the fruits of UNfairness, to insist on a change of culture. The result is the sort of systemic corruption that many of use criticize in the public sphere in developing states.
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Dec 21, 2011