Victor Hugo on right, reality and the morality of the past

The July Revolution is the triumph of right in the overthrow of reality. A splendid thing. Right overthrowing reality. Hence the magnitude of the 1830 Revolution, hence also its mildness. Right that triumphs has no need to be violent. Right is that which is just and true. Characteristic of what is right is to remain eternally beautiful and pure. Reality,…

A slice of the pie

Jane has one pie. John has none. Should Jane give John a slice? The situation is unequal, but we need some context – including some history – to be able to decide if it’s unfair. Your feelings might change if… Jane and John were each given a pie by a friend, but John has just finished eating his. Jane bought…

Karl Marx on automation and job losses due to disruption

“In these spacious halls the benignant power of steam summons around him his myriads of willing menials.” Andrew Ure Marx’s rage against the machine Another thought about the rate of change and “distruption,” this time from Karl Marx. I love Marx’s writing and his desire to do better for the working poor, even as I sigh at his wrong economics…

Peter Drucker on social responsibility

A business that does not show a profit at least equal to its cost of capital is irresponsible; it wastes society’s resources. Economic profit performance is the base without which business cannot discharge any other responsibilities, cannot be a good employer, a good citizen, a good neighbor. But economic performance is not the only responsibility of a business any more…

The trampoline: networks, standards and freedom

The network effect is powerful, and a source of tremendous value, and we need to understand how it works. Networks depend on standardisation – a consistent, accepted standard for how computers talk to each other, or how all Lego bricks fit together, or how a community works – a shared language and set of expectations that make it easier to…

Learning between the lines

You can’t ever just teach one thing. Whether we like it or not there’s always other stuff going on: we’re teaching what we think of our students, whether we value other people’s time or feelings, how we think we should speak to people, how a person might be in the world… All the time – consciously or not, or both – teachers…

Education for the future (5): tools and the wielder

Recap: a foundation for life Education – formal education at least – is concerned with equipping people with tools: skills, knowledge and ideas that will empower them them to live a flourishing life and achieve their purposes in the world. We’ve talked about the importance of sharing a vision of the flourishing life with our kids – the best that…

Show me the money

Love it or loathe it, you’ve got to know where the money’s going to come from, and where it all goes. Get it right from the start – it’s essential to the health and credibility of your project or organisation. It also works like an extra sense, helping you spot trends, opportunities and issues earlier than you might have otherwise.…

Datapoints

What the wizards at the various casinos have figured out how to do is wire up the slot machines so that they’re constantly playing with your need to feel lucky. The slots don’t work the way they used to. First of all, the slot machine knows who you are, and what your history is. They’ve given you this card that…

Hinterland

Cities can’t exist without a hinterland – the ‘land behind’ and around them that supports the city, provides people, resources, a place for the products of the city – for good and bad – to flow out to, a place for the city to grow into. Ideas need a hinterland too – a wider landscape they emerge from, draw on, connect to.…