As you know from my blog, I’m no introvert, and I’m not drawn to being a reflective learner by preference. But lots of my friends are still reading Quiet, and I know that lots of introverts hate the sort of learning that feels like making a fool of yourself in public, so I thought you’d be interested in this. Read More
Yesterday I was invited to the Royal Foundation of St Katharine to speak to the Buxton Leadership Programme. I had a pretty scary brief, which was to explain the UK Economy to them. I did so by way of these statistics, some of which you’ll have seen before: Read More
JustShare Lecture – St Mary-le-Bow Church – 29 January 2014 at 6.05pm
In general, market capitalism depends on 7 big ideas. Economists like to look scientific, so they tend to present these ideas as laws of nature. But even scientific truth is not this fixed, and the flat-earthers have moved on. But not so the Economists. The 7 big ideas that served the market so well in the past have now become sins not virtues, and are toxic to its future. And unless we correct the system at a fundamental level, reform is doomed to fail. But where to start? Tonight I’ll start with a quick run down on Capitalism’s 7 Deadly Sins. Then I will talk about the theology that informs my critique and ask some tricky questions. After all, it’s hardly fair to attack the market’s beliefs without being candid about my own. Finally, I’ll suggest ways in which Christians everywhere can get involved in the market’s reform.
As I mentioned on Radio 4 last week (starts at 38 minutes), I was highly delighted with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s embarrassment over the revelation that the Church Commissioners have inadvertently invested in Wonga. Adam Smith reckoned that the origin of morality was that we feel held in the gaze of the other. It is the risk of embarrassment – or that good old-fashioned word, shame – that keeps us on the straight and narrow. Read More
What’s on the average manager’s mind? Too much, it would appear. In one of their periodic bedroom surveys, Ashridge Business School found that managers spend fewer than 7 hours asleep at night, and this decreases as seniority increases. Match this up with a long-day no-lunch culture, and this becomes an extremely alarming statistic. 17 hours of sustained wakefulness has been shown to result in changes in behaviour equivalent to drinking 2 glasses of wine. In the UK people who’ve drunk this much aren’t allowed to drive or operate machinery, yet their equivalents are at the helm of some of our largest companies, making really scary decisions, every single day. Should shareholders be worried?
The Pope (Retd) is to spend the rest of his days quietly in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae nunnery (sans nuns). It may be that a scandal has yet to emerge, which would explain a little better why this pope really decided to retire, the first to do so in 600 years. But if he has genuinely decided to throw in the towel on grounds of ill-health, he may have just performed his most important act as a global leadership role model. His exit contains valuable insight for those in any sacred or secular profession, particularly where a role has become vocational.
My Godson fixes me with a beady eye. “If I finish my peas, do I get a sticker?” I was on holiday, taking the twins on a Progress to meet their northern relatives, and visiting friends en route. Every fridge I saw boasted a sticker-chart, and every meal seemed to go the same way, coupled with endless negotiation about getting dressed, sharing toys, doing jobs, and behaving in general. The more enterprising children would have shocked Luther with their creativity in conjuring up fresh sticker opportunities. They reminded me of those cartoon Catholics of yore, who played the system by figuring out that sinning generates more God points than leading a blameless life, because it enables you to get grace top-ups through confession and absolution.