New Power

*Gah!* It has been 15 years since [_The Clue Train Manifesto_][] went live (April 1999 for those wanting precision), and it would appear that a good chunk of the corporate world still needs it explained to them. Witness the _Harvard Business Review_’s [“Understanding “New Power””][], which somehow manages to fuse, really confuse, in their own words “increasing political protest, a crisis in representation and governance, and upstart businesses upending traditional industries.” Okay, so one should be generous with HBR: it doesn’t really serve them to think about things like income inequality. (More seriously, HBR can often be a lot smarter than its home in the Harvard Business School, which begot the world the MBA, and thus probably deserves a special place in the annals of *Ideas That Destroyed Civilization As We Know It (And Just When Things Were Looking Up)*.)

HBR’s definitions of old and new power are reasonable, however:

> Power, as British philosopher Bertrand Russell defined it, is simply “the ability to produce intended effects.” Old power and new power produce these effects differently. New power models are enabled by peer coordination and the agency of the crowd—without participation, they are just empty vessels. Old power is enabled by what people or organizations own, know, or control that nobody else does—once old power models lose that, they lose their advantage.

And we can only hope that someone, somewhere is making notes on where there is excitement and innovation in the world and where there is not.

[_The Clue Train Manifesto_]: http://www.cluetrain.com
[“Understanding “New Power””]: https://hbr.org/2014/12/understanding-new-power

Telltale Signs

[Telltale Signs you work at a sinking ship company.](http://www.quora.com/What-are-telltale-signs-that-youre-working-at-a-sinking-ship-company?) The one that states “Executives are shuffled around the company to new roles, but outsiders don’t ever seem to be brought in to raise the bar” seemed especially resonant.

In the Name of Love, Indeed

**Follow your bliss = first world privilege**: “‘Do what you love’ disguises the fact that being able to choose a career primarily for personal reward is an unmerited privilege…. If we believe that working as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur [or tech blogger] or a museum publicist or a think-tank acolyte is essential to being true to ourselves – in fact, to loving ourselves – what do we believe about the inner lives and hopes of those who clean hotel rooms and stock shelves at big-box stores? The answer is: nothing.” @[Jacobin][].

Later in the essay, the author takes on higher education: “The reward for answering this higher calling is an academic employment marketplace in which around 41 percent of American faculty are adjunct professors — contract instructors who usually receive low pay, no benefits, no office, no job security, and no long-term stake in the schools where they work. … There are many factors that keep PhDs providing such high-skilled labor for such extremely low wages, including path dependency and the sunk costs of earning a PhD, but one of the strongest is how pervasively the DWYL doctrine is embedded in academia.”

[Jacobin]: http://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/01/in-the-name-of-love/

World Bank Whistleblower Reveals How The Global Elite Rule The World

Canadian Global Research reports that a [“world bank whistleblower reveals how the global elite rule the world”](http://www.globalresearch.ca/world-bank-whistleblower-reveals-how-the-global-elite-rule-the-world/5353130): I was hoping for something more dramatic, more conspiratorial, but the actual way that inequality increases in the world is rather banal. (Why, yes, that was a Hannah Arendt reference.)

Louisiana’s Matrixed Future

I once had a successful business person tell me that whenever you saw a matrix, you knew the situation was dire. It’s not that this person wasn’t interested in complexity; he just honestly felt that business matrices were almost never about thinking. It looks like Louisiana has a matrix, and it looks like this:

First Louisiana Matrix

*Click to embiggen, if you like.*

There is also an accompanying brochure for the *Fostering Innovation through Research and Science in Louisiana* initiative (program?). It shortens to: *FIRST Louisiana*. It has some ties to Louisiana’s “blue ocean” initiative, which reads like the same thing every other state is pursuing — thus turning the waters red — and so I guess this complement makes sense in that regard.

Edwin Mellen Press Doesn’t Like It When You Call Them a Vanity Press

Inside Higher Ed has [coverage][] of Edwin Mellen Press filing suit against an academic librarian for a blog post from two years ago. One wonders if the good folks at Mellen Press have heard of the [Streisand effect][]?

[coverage]: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/02/08/academic-press-sues-librarian-raising-issues-academic-freedom
[Streisand effect]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

Wikileaks Needs Your Help

So I have been a fan of the *realpolitik* musings of the folks at StratFor, the freely available parts that is. It turns out that the StratFor folks are *realpolitik* in the usual crass sorts of ways as well: slopping at the fear trough, setting up offshore investment funds that profit from other people’s misery, and the kind of general bribery and revolving-door shenanigans we have come to expect from our government and corporations.

How do I know this? It turns out StratFor did a pretty good job of documenting themselves. All it took was the work of a group of hackers to “free” the materials and turn it over to Wikileaks.

[Wikileaks has a nice write-up.](http://wikileaks.org/the-gifiles.html)

But you should also [donate](http://shop.wikileaks.org/donate). Why? Because transparency is central to democracy.