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Good article. I wrote a longer response on my phone but lost it. Here is the revised shorter version. You have identified the correct tension between individual excellence and a collective egalitarianism that managerialism requires. The managerialism reflects that ethos because it needs products and workers who are interchangeable and reproducible. In extreme cases the desire is to have both machine reproducible or machine replaceable. However, this runs contrary to nature and human nature. we see this in sports where excellence is pursued and rewarded. Teams that follow a managerialist approach do find some success, but they never beat teams that can harvest and enhance individual creativity and excellence of the players. Sabre.etrics will only take a team so far beyond which talent and creativity is required. the political consequence is a tension between our democratic ethos and the desire to pursue and reward excellence. However, in the workplace this is changing with the rise of networked firm. The firms that can harness individual excellence and coordinate it can succeed more than others. I explore the rise of the aristocratic workplace here. I would welcome your views on it. Thanks for a good well written article. Best Lawrence
John, Thanks for the response on my blog. I have responded. I think what we are able to see clearly, for the first time, is how politicss works in the UK. We see how and why political leaders court the press and we see how the media court politicians. What is important to remember is how showbiz, the celebrities, have a vital link. If we are to critique our politics, we need to look deeply at our society and what is important. Leveon has not shown us what is wrong, he is showing us what is. What remains for us, the citizens (responsible citizens at that) is to shape the politics that we want. If we do not take that opportunity now, then what hope do we have. Put it this way, if we could achieve a clean up of politics by turning off the television sets tomorrow for the duration of the England match, how many people would take up that offer? Therein, lies the test. We need to educate ourselves to the importance of a decent politics so we can know the indecency that Leveson has revealed and then how to make it right. If we don't, then we have abdicated our responsibility as citizens.
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John, Interesting arguments, but I am not convinced. I think democracy is stronger than you indicate. I would also suggest that we are finally seeing what politicians have to do in private to deliver their programmes in the public interest. In the end, we, as citizens have to take responsibility. To suggest otherwise, are we really rats?, is to abdicate our democratic rights. We need to get involved and now is the time. I have a longer response posted here which responds to your points.
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Tom, Your final paragraph captured the fundamental tension within the UK. There is a desire to have transparency without openess. I think Obama and co. are more along the lines of the open movement in the belief of creating a public space. Cameron and co. see it differently because their focus on transparency is almost at the cost of openness. They will decide what they want to release when they release it rather than opening up access to the data. A deeper problem, though, is the politicization of the data. The open data movement has an implicit (perhaps explicit) democratic bias. However, the internet and the powers that control the data are not necessarily seeing such radical democracy of access and openness. (This is not saying UK or USA is undemocratic rather that the difference in the open data movement and the general politcal structure are not as radical.) I have written on the issue of politicised data here: I would be interested in your views and whether open data can overcome that politicization or whether it is, by its nature, vulnerable to such political manipulation and therefore inherently unstable as a movement.
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May 2, 2012