De Soto has a point, namely that the biggest reason for the continued laggardness of people in developing countries to "catch up" with those in the deDe Soto has a point, namely that the biggest reason for the continued laggardness of people in developing countries to "catch up" with those in the developed world lies in the convoluted local legal structures that favor those with the power, money, influence, and the wherewithal to navigate their way through the system. As in it is cheaper and easier to just stay outside of the legal system altogether and cobble together an implicit, grassroots alternative to it. Hence the overwhelming majority of economic activity that lies in the "informal sector," retaining people's assets in a form that doesn't lend itself to the multi-faceted liquidity engendered almost as an epiphenomenon by the legal system of personal property rights that we take so much for granted.
What is frustrating is his willfully obdurate assertion that after the failure of state socialism, "capitalism is the only game around," especially when the full-throttle exploitation of the very liquidity that he touts as the way out of the poverty hole in which the majority of people in the developing world are stuck forms the core of what has led to the current financial crisis. It would be greatly interesting to see what he would have to say about the current state of affairs, given the book was published back in 2000....more
The general thesis is excellent, in sum a prescient analysis of the new international order, above and beyond the old nationalisms, and the intensifyiThe general thesis is excellent, in sum a prescient analysis of the new international order, above and beyond the old nationalisms, and the intensifying process of economic globalization, but the particular dynamics detailed in Ward's tripartite examination of the disparities in politics, wealth, and ideology, are all geared towards the cold-war preoccupations of mid-late 1960s Western powers. This would have been essential reading 40 years ago, and still has some relevance today, mostly as historical background into the economic dynamism of the inter- and postwar years and indicative of the processes of global economic and political power that has led eventually to today's current configuration.
Many of the problematics Ward highlights, including the question of national self-determination/sovereignty, the spread of regional economic blocs as steps towards the global unity, and the relevance of the UN, as opposed to the opportunities it presents, are still manifest as pressing issues of our own raging times. At the same time, the aforementioned preoccupation with Cold War Realpolitik and a rather naive (though prevalent at the time) view of the scope and role of international development assistance are definitely artifacts of the milieu of which it is part. It should get 3.5 stars, if possible....more
Read with the 4th Assessment Report put out last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the most up-to-date, in-depth overview of tRead with the 4th Assessment Report put out last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the most up-to-date, in-depth overview of the greatest challenge we are having to have had the opportunity to face. Essential reading. If you aren't completely scared out of your wits by the end of it, there will be no room for accommodating you in the world-state we are ever swiftly hurtling into....more
Anybody else struck in the middle of the face by the similarities between the situation in this book and the current state of things? A debilitating eAnybody else struck in the middle of the face by the similarities between the situation in this book and the current state of things? A debilitating environmental catastrophe (that we're slipping ever further into, no matter that the temperature abnormalities in the novel vs. reality have opposite tendencies), a (formerly) dangerously overcrowded planet, the general sense of downtrodden resignation to the interminable grayness of a darkly fading world, the meteoric rise to prominence of a beacon of salvation and renewed hope in the possibilities afforded by the future, through the vehicle of a formerly obscure, tall, thin, dark, not-too-handsome-but-extremely-charismatic public figure...
Never mind the overtly literary Christ references and Jesus talk that cloud up the otherwise noteworthily prophetic novel, and it all seems too much to line up with the present to be some kind of cosmic coincidence. Or am I reading too much into it?...more
While I don't normally tend to dip into the business management side of the book spectrum, this book, upon flipping through its pages, drew me right iWhile I don't normally tend to dip into the business management side of the book spectrum, this book, upon flipping through its pages, drew me right in.
And laid in plain, explicatory language the crossover from the "new science," chaos, self-organization, dissipative structures, ecological feedback loops, etc., to the realm of social organizational management that I've been trying to envision myself. Faint but present echoes of the Marxist critique of the modern capitalist imperative in ignoring the integral needs of the whole human.. but coming from the side of indeterminacy and the reality of adapting to constant change.
And while Wheatley spends a lot of page-time trying to defend her hypothesis that the findings of the new science (quantum indeterminability, emphasis on process over product, the importance of relationship and free flow of information, etc.) can seriously be applied to how we think about getting our work done, I for one don't doubt the validity of it at all - especially having seen how these principles she's talking about take form on their own organic terms, and the tremendous energies and effectiveness that result when you stop trying to cram an entire person into their little boxes on the organizational chart.
What's interesting to me is the real possibility it raises of somehow shoehorning The Rhizome into the present bureaucratic non-profit paradigm, and how we can retool it to be more responsive to the actual needs on the ground, rather than some organizational imperative to preserve the current structure......more