The big buzz in my new professional world this week came from Martin Parker’s “Why we should bulldoze the business school”. Parker taught in business schools for 20 years and thinks they are fake, ideological, and even harmful: they do not question capitalism and profit-seeking; they assume that people are rational egoists; and they publish weak research. So, for Parker, the growing interest of business schools for responsible leadership, business ethics, or sustainability is mere window dressing. I don’t know Parker and am putting his upcoming book on my reading list. But while his article is thought-provoking, I found it mainly disappointing. For someone who spent 2 decades inside the system and has such strong views, I would have expected a retrospective of what he did to challenge the status quo from within or at least some ideas about how to design this “entirely new way of thinking about management, business and markets” he is calling for. Criticizing is the easy part of the job.
Mounk and Foa argue that we have reached “The end of the democratic century”. What they call “democracy”, here, refers to Western liberal democracies. They say that less and less people in democratic countries think democracy is essential. They argue that more and more autocratic strongmen challenge democratic advances. And they show that the share of global income produced by democracies will soon be less than that of “non-democratic” countries. This will shake-up the global distribution of power, including soft power as non-democracies host a growing number of universities and increasingly shape media narratives. The authors then discuss whether these non-democracies can sustain growth and peace, and reduce inequalities. I thought it was an interesting perspective even if the tone of the article is somehow nostalgic and if their analysis does not sufficiently discuss the possible transformative role of large democracies outside the US-EU axis.
My graph this week is from the European Commission Joint Research Center’s “Many more to come: migration from and within Africa”. It looks at migration projections in Africa based on demographic and socio-economic trends. It shows that emigration will rise, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa, even if socio-economic development accelerates.
My quote this week is from pregnant New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern: “The only reason I can do what I’m doing is because my partner has the ability to be a pretty much full-time carer. So I don’t want to appear to be superwoman because we should not expect women to be superwomen.”